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Video of Norwood brawl contradicts councilman's claim that he saved victim from his attacker

Norwood police reopen investigation
Norwood City Councilman Chris Kelsch
Posted at 9:00 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 11:36:51-04

NORWOOD, Ohio — Video of a June 6 brawl outside a Norwood bar contradicts the claims of a Norwood city councilman who said he saved a helpless victim from one of his attackers. Now, an investigation is underway into what really happened after WCPO brought the video to Norwood police.

"I saved a guy who was unconscious on the ground from being attacked by the people who attacked him," said Councilman Chris Kelsch in an interview Tuesday night outside Norwood's Council Chambers. "I saved the guy from getting possibly killed."

Norwood City Councilman Chris Kelsch
Norwood City Councilman Chris Kelsch

But video obtained by the WCPO 9 I-Team shows Kelsch grabbed and wrestled with Deandre Jones, who hadn't thrown a punch.

Jones, 26, started streaming live video at 2 a.m. in front of The Wood Bar on Sherman Avenue.

The video shows Jones didn't go after the unconscious man who had been punched by someone else. Instead, Jones tackled a different man who appeared to have punched Jones seconds earlier.

When Kelsch got on top of Jones, the video shows the man who allegedly punched Jones got free and squared off with someone else.

Facebook screenshot of Norwood City Councilman Chris Kelsch on top of Deandre Jones
Facebook screenshot of Norwood City Councilman Chris Kelsch on top of Deandre Jones

Kelsch still insisted his version was correct.

"He was on his way there to attack the guy," Kelsch said.

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The I-Team played the video Wednesday for Norwood police Chief William Kramer and Lt. Ron Murphy, who requested and received the video from Jones.

"Everybody that we can identify in that video will be either a witness, a victim or a suspect," Murphy said. "So, we'll be interviewing everybody. So, we'll be interviewing Councilman Kelsch."

Norwood police records show officers interviewed Kelsch right after the June incident.

"I told the police exactly what happened," Kelsch told the I-Team.

But Norwood police records show Kelsch didn't tell officers what really happened.

"Officers spoke to Christopher Kelsch, who had obvious signs that he had been in a physical altercation. When asked how he got his bloody knuckles and busted lip, Kelsch responded with, 'I fell and I don't brush my teeth very well,'" according to Norwood police records.

Before the fight, the video shows Jones and another Black man telling a group of white men to stop using the N-word.

The video shows Kelsch was next to Jones during the argument.

Kelsch denied using the racial slur.

Jones said he saw two men appear to be getting ready to fight, so he walked toward them with his arms down by his sides.

That's when someone punched him in the face.

Deandre Jones
Deandre Jones

"I got hit as if I was trying to jump in, but I never even showed a threat to nobody," Jones said. "I even said, 'Stop it.'"

Right after that, a second fight broke out next to Jones that left one man unconscious.

"I seen the person who hit me, so I charged at him," Jones said. "Somebody else charged at me and it was the same person I was just talking to."

That person was Kelsch.

The video shows Kelsch struggling with Jones on the ground under him for more than 20 seconds.

Kelsch's arm goes around Jones' throat.

Jones said it was difficult to breathe.

But Kelsch claimed he was the victim.

"He choked me out, so I got off of that and tried to hold him until somebody else could get him off of me," Kelsch told the I-Team.

Later, after Jones got up, an unidentified man behind Jones punched him in the head. Again.

Norwood Police Lt. Ron Murphy and Chief William Kramer watch Facebook video of the brawl
Norwood Police Lt. Ron Murphy and Chief William Kramer watch Facebook video of the brawl

Norwood police told the I-Team there is no body camera video of the incident because their cameras weren't working properly.

Police dash camera video shows officers on the scene, but there's no audio of police conversations.

Norwood police records show an officer refers to a video of the incident, but it's not clear who provided the video. The officer claimed the video didn't show any fighting.

Officers say Jones held a pocketknife and refused to drop it, so officers arrested him.

Jones insisted he didn't know it was an officer until the officer grabbed him. He was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and fined $110.

Jones is the only person involved in the incident who was charged.

Norwood Police had told the I-Team Jones didn't file a complaint requesting charges in the case, but Jones filed a complaint a week ago.

On Wednesday, the I-Team showed Jones' Facebook video to Kramer and Murphy.

Murphy immediately requested and received the video from Jones and promised a full investigation, helped in part by a video they didn't have until Wednesday.

Kelsch, who claimed the I-Team wasn't interested in the truth, did not accept our offer Wednesday to watch the video with us and respond to more of our questions.

"I just tried to protect somebody who was about to die in the street," Kelsch said. "That's all."