Charges Dropped in Blue Martini Brawl

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

New developments in a bar brawl involving an off-duty West Palm Beach Police officer and a young woman at City Place last month.

Prosecutors have dropped charges against the woman.  A one page document released by the state attorney's office says quote: Officer had probable cause to arrest. However, further prosecution is not warranted."

Barbara Rutledge, 24,  of suburban Lake Worth had been charged with aggravated battery in the June 5 brawl at Blue Martini at City Place.

She says she was at Blue Martini with her boyfriend, when she happened to brush up against an off-duty West Palm Beach police officer Joseph Rizzo, and they exchanged words and Rutledge admits that she threw her drink in Rizzo's face.

Police say she also smashed a martini glass into his nose and Rizzo, 45, threw her to the floor.

Moments later, the two of them scuffled again outside the bar, when Rutledge says Rizzo charged at her and  tackled her to the ground.

Officer Rizzo, who was not in uniform at the time,  was hospitalized and treated for an injury to his nose.

The incident is still under investigation by police internal affairs.  According to her lawyer, Rutledge may sue Officer Rizzo for excessive use of force.  We could not reach Rutledge for comment.