FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) _ A man bit off another man's ear during a barroom brawl early Thursday, then swallowed it when police confronted him, authorities said.

Stevon Sutton still had the ear in his mouth when police arrived but refused to spit it out. He sucked it in and out of his mouth several times before swallowing it, police said.

``This is a first, definitely a first,'' said Sgt. Jim Zamora, a police spokesman. ``We've had people bite body parts of other people before, but I've never heard of anyone swallowing the body part.''

Sutton bit the back of Emmett Wallace's ear, taking off about 40 percent of it, doctors said. Wallace, 38, was treated at a hospital and released. A hospital spokeswoman did not know if his hearing would be affected.

Sutton, 32, was charged with battery and criminal recklessness, both misdemeanors. Police tried to find a charge applicable to cannibalism, but there were none on the books.