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Fargo journalist must testify in suspect's trial for deadly fistfight

Archie Ingersoll, news director, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO — A journalist from The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead who covered a deadly downtown fistfight has been called to testify by prosecutors in the June 19 trial of Darren Scott Patterson, according to a subpoena served to him Thursday, May 10.

Archie Ingersoll was the reporter on duty the night of May 27, 2017, when he became a witness to the alleged crime that led to the death of Jamie Grant, one of the men involved in the fight with Patterson.

Ingersoll was interviewed in October by prosecuting and defense attorneys, and his notes, including videos, were subpoenaed.

Patterson has been charged with aggravated assault, manslaughter and simple assault. His jury trial has been scheduled for June 19-29.

The Thursday subpoena commanded Ingersoll to appear in court to testify on behalf of the state. Others listed as state's witnesses early in the investigation include Patterson's wife, Ashley, as well as seven police officers, a police detective and all those struck by Patterson in the fight: Christopher Sang, Jeffrey Grant and Jamie Grant.

Ingersoll was not on the list at the time.

Journalists typically tread carefully when it comes to cooperating with the government because they serve as government watchdogs and want to remain independent. They also fear revealing sources to whom they've promised confidentiality.

But Ingersoll and Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon agreed that the situation they face here doesn't violate these long-held stances because Ingersoll was a witness. They reached their decision after conferring with a media attorney and a media ethics professor.

Ingersoll, who's now the newspaper's news director, has said he was by the Forum office, 101 Fifth St. N., when he saw Patterson strike two men about a block away outside the HoDo Restaurant and Lounge, 101 Broadway N. One of the men, Jamie Grant, hit his head on the pavement and never regained consciousness.

According to court records, a HoDo bartender told police the Grant brothers and their friend got into a fight with Patterson in the bar. Both parties were kicked out through separate doors, but Patterson rushed back. He told police he was coming back for his wife when the men attacked him.

Prosecutors suggest video evidence shows he rushed back to confront the men.

Aggravated assault and manslaughter are felonies each with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Simple assault is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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