RHINELANDER (WAOW) – A disc jockey involved in a fatal New Year's Eve bar fight was cleared Thursday of any criminal wrongdoing.
“The evidence does not support criminal charges,” Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek said. “The incident was a tragic set of events that led to the death of Mr. Tanner.”
James Tanner, 48, died after part of his broken sternum punctured his heart after the 59-year-old DJ pushed him into a bar at Sackett's Bar, police said. The push came after Tanner had punched another man, 62, in the face following a conversation between the two.
The DJ intervened to stop Tanner from leaving the bar, continuing the assault or assaulting other patrons, Schiek said Thursday.
The DJ gave Tanner a "bear hug" from behind and "directed, pushed or slammed" Tanner into the bar before Tanner was directed or fell to the floor and the DJ asked a bartender to call police, the prosecutor said in a statement.
Interviews with witnesses led the prosecutor to conclude that the DJ was not aware that his conduct created an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great harm to Tanner, which would be required to be proven for a second-degree reckless homicide conviction, Schiek said.