Charges issued for officers arrested in bar fight

The two officers are under investigation by their own department after a bar fight that happened on the west side of the state (Source: Kent County Public Records Bank).
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GRAND RAPIDS, MI. (WILX) -- Charges have been issued for two Bath Township police officers who were arrested last week in a Grand Rapids bar.

Det. Bryan Miller and Officer Payton Warner were arrested about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 9 by Grand Rapids police for their alleged involvement in a bar fight while off duty.

Court records indicate Miller is charged with creating a disturbance in a public place. Warner is charged with assault or battery.

Both charges are misdemeanors and punishable up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, according to the Grand Rapids City Attorney’s Office.

The office is handling both cases. Both officers are scheduled to be arraigned 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22 in Grand Rapids’ 61st District Court. They could decide to be in court earlier because Grand Rapids’ court system allows walk-in arraignments.

Grand Rapids Police Sgt. John Wittkowski said last week in a statement alcohol was a factor in the bar fight.

Wittkowski said Miller and Warner received charges that are typical for people who are arrested for fighting.

“It’s pretty much standard,” Wittkowski said. “They weren’t treated any different than any other person.”

Reports of the bar fight, taken from four Grand Rapids police officers, don’t indicate how long it lasted.

The reports also don’t indicate any weapons were used, Wittkowski said.

Bar owner Deb Owen said last week Miller and Warner punched a bartender at The Web bar and kicked a customer before the fight broke up.

Owen said Miller threw the first punch. Owen’s son is the bartender and refused to serve Miller before the incident occurred, she said.

Both Miller and Warner are currently on paid leave from the Bath Township Police Department.

Bath Township Police Lt. Gary Smith said last week the department has been reduced to nine working officers and will have to “shuttle people around” to meet staffing demands.

The department began last week an internal investigation into the officers’ involvement in the fight. It’s unclear when the investigation could end and if findings will be made public.

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