BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — Two months after a bouncer pleaded not guilty to charges that he threw a patron to the floor of a downtown bar, leaving him with a skull fracture, the patron pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge that he elbowed the bouncer first.
Amid sharply conflicting accounts of just what happened inside Tavern in the Square on May 4, a judge yesterday ordered Zachary Brown, 23, of Peabody to stay away from bouncer Nicholas Quartarone, 19, of Beverly, while his charge, assault and battery, is pending.
In June, Quartarone, who is charged with aggravated assault and battery, was ordered to stay away from Brown.
At stake is not only the immediate futures of both young men, but the liquor license of the downtown Salem restaurant. Last month, the Salem Licensing Board voted to suspend Tavern in the Square’s liquor license for five days, with two days to be served, but then agreed to hold off on enforcing the suspension pending the outcome of the criminal cases.
Salem police, who filed the aggravated assault and battery charge against Quartarone, concluded that he had thrown Brown to the floor, fracturing his skull and leaving him with other injuries, following a verbal confrontation.
But Quartarone disputes that. In a statement that the restaurant’s manager took from him and turned over to police, Quartarone allegedly said he “put the kid down” in self-defense after Brown elbowed him instead of moving along, as Quartarone had asked.
Quartarone and his attorney, Kevin James, later filed a civilian-signed complaint against Brown, which, after a hearing, resulted in the assault and battery charges being issued and Brown’s arraignment yesterday.
Following Brown’s arraignment, both sides discussed pretrial motions in the case, and prosecutor Lynsey Legier filed a motion seeking access to Brown’s medical records.
Brown’s lawyer, Paul Colella, told the judge several times that he has no objection to providing those records to the district attorney or to Quartarone’s attorney, James.
James, who filed a similar motion seeking the records of Brown, told Judge Matthew Machera he’s concerned that he won’t receive all of the records, however, unless there is a court order.
Brown’s attorney disputed that.
“We would produce those medical records gladly,” Colella said outside court, “to show how serious his injuries were.”
Colella said Brown, who is also pursuing a civil action against the bar, still suffers from hearing loss as a result of being slammed to the floor.
Asked his reaction to the complaint filed by Quartarone against his client, Colella said, “They’re doing what they have to do.”
Outside court, James, asked for comment, responded with a written statement in which he said Quartarone “maintains the position that it was Mr. Brown who assaulted him first. Mr. Quartarone was merely protecting himself and others from Mr. Brown, who has a known history for altercations at the Tavern. Further, it’s Mr. Quartarone’s position that Mr. Brown’s injuries were the result of being assaulted by someone else during the melee that ensued from Mr. Brown’s violent behavior.”
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.