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Ask the Chief: Talk to attorneys prior to 'mutual combat'

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: I heard that in New York there's an open combat sort of law where you can request a peace officer to watch two people who agree to fight. Does this exist in Minnesota?

A: Thank you for your question! I could not locate a reference to open combat in New York, to see how it may apply to Minnesota, however in November of 2012, the Seattle (Wash.) police stood by and watched a fight between two individuals that agreed to "mutual combat." Most of the discussion surrounding this event, hinges on the definition of "duly licensed or authorized" as identified in the Seattle Municipal Code.

I would encourage you to contact an attorney authorized to practice law in the state in question, prior to engaging in a fight in that state, they will be able to provide a clearer definition of the applicable code.

Regarding your question, fighting in public is not authorized and would violate Minnesota Statute #609.72, Disorderly Conduct, which clearly states to engage in brawling or fighting is a violation of this statute.

I would also encourage you to speak with a private attorney authorized to practice law in the state were the incident may occur, regarding potential civil liability and other concerns regarding assaults and fighting.


1. Seattle Municipal Code 12A.06.025 Fighting, found online at

2. Police Magazine Article "Seattle Cops Allow Mutual Combat", November 12, 2012, located online at:

3. Minnesota State Statute #609.72, Disorderly Conduct, located online at: