A Batavia man has been charged with battery after police encountered five people in the middle of an intersection early Sunday, with one man down on his knees struggling to get back onto his feet.
Matthew Paul Baumgartner, 24, of the 00-99 block of Van Nortwick Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on the battery charge at 2:12 a.m. at North 3rd and State streets, according to police.
Two officers on patrol saw a group of five people in the intersection as they approached, and the victim was on his knees. One officer called in a fight in progress and both officers stepped in to break it up, getting the five people there to sit on the curb while backup officers arrived.
Witnesses told police that Baumgartner had instigated the fight with a 32-year-old St. Charles man — the same man police said was on his knees when officers arrived. Some witnesses said Baumgartner and the victim had exchanged words prior to the incident.
The victim told police he was walking home when Baumgartner came running up and began choking him and threw him to the ground. Other witnesses questioned separately corroborated the victim’s account, police said.
The victim told police he thought he was about to pass out when officers arrived. Police said the victim had a large, bleeding cut or scratch on his forehead, a cut on his knuckle and a scraped elbow. He also told police he wanted to sign a battery complaint against Baumgartner.
While he was being booked at the St. Charles Police Department, 211 N. Riverside Drive, Baumgartner told police he had acted in self-defense. Police informed him that several witnesses saw him running down the street toward the victim and then attacking the man.
Baumgartner was released on his own recognizance pending an Oct. 17, 2013 court appearance.
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