I was walking the dogs around The Level perimeter on Friday evening when I reached a point near where the new 56 seater cafe is to be built, directly opposite the Bat 'n Ball. As I approached a mass brawl broke out involving about 20 Bat 'n Ball patrons. Two policemen already on the scene were in the thick of it, but hopelessly outnumbered, one of the poor chaps’s took a direct smash in the face before he went down under a pile of kicking and yelling bodies. It must have taken police back-up only about 5 mins to arrive and the next thing, the place was swarming with police, and Oxford St was cordoned off. It took a good further 15 mins for the police to get things under control during which time more of them had taken a beating. Meanwhile, small splinter groups of well-oiled, angry punters broke off from the main fracas, with some heading up Ditchling Rd, while others went toward London Rd.
Trouble must have started again in London Rd, because at one point, about 20 policemen with a couple of dogs all went charging off in that direction. As word spread round about the incident, more and more excitable teens started gathering to watch what was going on - some of them trying to get as close as possible to all the action... and there were some ugly scenes that no parent in their right mind would want their children to witness.
It is worrying that this type of incident is occurring only yards from the site of the new cafe and state-of-the-art skatepark both scheduled to stay open until 10pm.
~ Jackie Brown.