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Teenager charged in connection with fight outside of Steam Plant in January

The 17-year-old identified by police as the main aggressor in a fight with a 56-year-old man outside a downtown Spokane restaurant in January has been formally charged with fourth-degree assault.

The teen, who is not being identified because prosecutors have not decided whether to try him as an adult, will turn 18 on April 16. He will appear in court later this month to answer the gross misdemeanor charge.

Bruce Palmer was left with a broken nose and two black eyes after the incident outside the Steam Plant on Jan. 27. Palmer and his wife, Billie, said they were attacked by a group of juveniles, one of whom claimed to have been struck by the Palmers’ vehicle as it left the restaurant. Bruce Palmer left the car to check for damages and injuries when he was assaulted by multiple members of the group, his wife said.

In a subsequent interview, the accused teen said he was drunk at the time of the crime and did not remember the fight. The group had been kicked out of the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza downtown for unruly behavior about an hour before the confrontation, according to police reports.

The suspect, who was placed in a headlock by Bruce Palmer until police arrived, pleaded guilty to the assault of a 10-year-old girl with sexual motivation when he was 14, according to court records.

A Spokane police detective had recommended a charge of second-degree assault for the teen, a felony. The detective also recommended a riot charge against Charles Bennett, 21, for his connection to the case. That charge has not yet been filed, according to court records.