Murphysboro bans fighting by agreement - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Murphysboro bans fighting by agreement

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MURPHYSBORO -- Since Chad Roberts took over as Murphysboro Police Chief, he's been trying to clean up the city's ordinances.

"Over the past year and a half, we've had several ordinances that we've identified that have had legal issues or wording issues that we've tried to clarify and clean up and this has been one of them," Roberts said.

The ordinance he's referring to is 27-2-28 of the city code, better known as the "Fighting By Agreement" ordinance. It made any agreement to fight somebody else, either verbal or written, illegal.

"Fighting has always been banned," Roberts said. "What we removed is the stipulation that there had to be a written or verbal agreement and then we also added the new ordinance for assault and battery."

The city council passed the original ordinance in 1999 and it never came up again until a few months ago when a man tried to use the ordinance to escape assault charges. 

"That's the first time the legal issue has been raised with it and it really came to our attention," Roberts said.

So Tuesday night the council removed any language permitting fights by agreement unless they're sanctioned sporting events.

"The "Fighting by Agreement" ordinance isn't the only change sought by the police chief. The city council has also made changes to its ordinances on concealed carry and marijuana to mirror changes made at the state level.

"Law in an evolving thing. It's often referred to as living and breathing," Roberts said. "Law changes. Law adapts. And the city ordinances mirror state laws, many of them, and they have to adapt to those changes in state law."

And Roberts plans to keep suggesting changes so there's no confusion about the law in Murphysboro.

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