Thursday, 4:30 PM
Police investigate brawl at Pops concert
By Suzanne Smalley, Globe staff
Boston police said Friday they have assigned a detective to investigate a brawl that erupted at Symphony Hall Wednesday night, a reversal of the department’s earlier decision not to pursue charges.
Police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said yesterday that the original decision to let the two men leave without facing charges was made by officers at the scene. By Thursday, however, police Captain William Evans decided to initiate an investigation after reviewing the officers’ report on the incident, Driscoll said.
Driscoll said detectives plan to interview witnesses and summon both men to court, where a clerk magistrate determine who bears responsibility for the fight.
The spectacle of two men brawling in the refined environs of Symphony Hall, on opening night of the Boston Pops, has catapulted Boston and the Pops onto the international stage, garnering jokes on ‘‘The Tonight Show’’ and in headlines around the world.
According to a police report obtained by the Globe, one of the men involved in the fight, Matthew Ellenger, a 27-year-old Brighton man, told police that the incident started when he told another concertgoer, Bourne resident Michael Hallam, to be quiet during the performance.
Ellenger told police that he repeatedly asked Hallam, 44, to stop talking and that Hallam punched him after the two men began bickering, according to the police report obtained by the Globe.
Hallam, who owns a boat construction business and convenience store in Bourne, could not be located for comment Friday.
A neighbor at his home on the Cape Cod Canal in the affluent Grey Gables section of Bourne, said Hallam told him that he had retained an attorney who advised him not to speak publicly about the incident.
The neighbor, who declined to be identified, said Hallam told him Ellenger cuffed him on the back of the head before announcing he had reported Hallam to an usher.
The neighbor said Hallam does not plan to return on returning home in the near future because he is avoiding the media.