Fight in Rochester two years ago leads to civil lawsuit
From staff reports
A fight that started at Apache Mall in Rochester more than two years ago has moved into the courtroom in the form of a civil lawsuit.
The legal action stems from a fight that occurred the morning of May 21, 2000, before the start of a Freedom Ride.
Authorities said a fight erupted among more than 30 members of two participating motorcycle groups.
Police said David Benjamin Kisor, 52, of Mapleton, Minn., suffered a hip injury and was hospitalized. Police also said several others suffered lesser injuries in the melee.
Kisor and his wife, Diana, filed a lawsuit in Blue Earth County, seeking damages of more than $50,000. That case has not been transferred to Olmsted County.
There are several defendants, including the entire Chapter "C" Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, and the Midwest and national chapters of the club. In addition, nine individuals are named.
One, Michael D. Zwart of Dodge County, has filed a counterclaim, seeking compensatory damages of more than $50,000 from the Kisors. He says Kisor assaulted him.
William French, attorney representing all of the defendants, has filed a response, saying Kisor's alleged injuries and damages were caused by his own negligence.
Mankato attorney Mark Halverson represents the Kisors and said in his complaint that the attack was prompted by one or more of the defendants attempting to remove an item of clothing from Kisor they found offensive and a symbol of his "purported membership in a rival motorcycle club."
Police said the dispute appeared to have been about whether one group was sanctioned to wear a certain color vest.
The incident was investigated by Rochester police and the Minnesota Gang Strike Force. The reports were forwarded to the Olmsted County attorney's office. County Attorney Ray Schmitz said that there were several inconsistencies in witness statements, and ultimately, many witnesses refused to cooperate in the prosecution. He said there was simply insufficient evidence to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt, so no one was ever charged in connection with the fight.