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In wake of assaults, sheriff's office increases security at the Olmsted County Fair

In wake of assaults, sheriff's office increases security at the Olmsted County Fair

The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office says it has added more deputies to provide security at the fairgrounds following multiple reports of violence.

The decision, the sheriff’s office said Thursday, was made in consultation with the Olmsted County Fair Board “in order to provide a continual safe environment for people attending the Fair.”

On Tuesday night, law enforcement responded to two incidents involving fighting. The first was an assault involving a 14-year-old female victim. Authorities say the victim was assaulted by another female teen. The victim told deputies that she was dragged to the ground by a group of juveniles.

Deputies later caught up with and arrested the suspect. The teen faces initial charges of misdemeanor 5th degree assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Because the investigation is still active, the sheriff’s office said it is also possible that others involved could be charged.

Video of the incident, from around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, has been widely shared on social media. It shows the victim on the ground as another girl assaults her. Bystanders begin to intervene before the video cuts off.

Another post from someone who purports to be the mother of the victim has been shared more than 800 times as of this writing. Photos show a teen girl in the hospital wounded.

The girl in hospital room was “attacked by close to 15 kids,” the woman said. “Low and behold - School Bullies are at it again,” she wrote. “They just have to keep it going, even during the summer. I am more than fed up.”

Neither the video nor the Facebook post have been independently verified.

In a separate post, which has been shared at least 500 times, another fairgoer said the fighting was so bad it caused rides to shut down.

The individual behind the post appeared to be responding to a separate incident late Tuesday that spilled into the Walgreens parking lot, across the street from the fairgrounds. Local media reports say there was a fight involving about 50 juveniles. A 12-year-old was “pushed into a pole, hit his head and broke his wrist during the fight,” according to KTTC. The groups scattered as police arrived. No arrests have been made.

On Thursday, the Olmsted County Fair Board sought to assure the public that the safety of attendees is a top priority.

“We take this matter very seriously and while we had to be reactive in this situation we are being proactive with the situation as a whole. We are working in conjunction with the Sheriffs Department, City Police, Community Elders and variety of others to prevent this type of incident from happening again,” fair organizers wrote on Facebook.

The Olmsted County Fair runs through July 28. Tonight’s entertainment features the rapper Nelly.

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

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