Verdict reached in trial of Oakwood officer involved in Tipp City bar fight

An Oakwood public safety officer was found guilty Friday of a minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in a Tipp City bar fight following a five-hour trial in Miami County Municipal Court.

Jeffrey Watkins, 41, of rural Tipp City, was found guilty by court Magistrate Gary Zuhl, who heard testimony from several people including Watkins and watched video from inside the bar.

Zuhl sentenced Watkins to a $50 fine and court costs.

Watkins and his twin brother, Jeremy, of rural New Carlisle, were charged by Tipp City police following a March 11 incident at Tony’s Bada Bing on West Main Street. They pleaded not guilty and were scheduled for separate trials Friday before Zuhl.

Jeremy Watkins’ case was resolved early Friday afternoon when he paid a $25 fine and court costs.

Tipp City police detective Sgt. Chris Graham said a Tipp City man suffered a serious eye injury during the altercation, and the man’s wife was hit in the face and knocked to the floor.

In his testimony, Jeffrey Watkins said he was punched in the head at one point during what was described as three incidents during the altercation. He said he couldn’t remember what happened after being punched in the second incident.

“My lights went out … I remember this general feeling of not knowing what the heck was going on,” he said.

His wife, Jennifer Watkins, who works as a nurse practitioner, said she thought he had sufered a concussion. No records of medical treatment were presented.

Zuhl said testimony regarding the first two incidents showed Jeffrey Watkins was taking steps to protect his brother, Jordan Watkins, who also was at the bar, in the first incident. The second incident, seen on video, showed Jeffrey Watkins standing back during activity.

The third incident was “more troubling,” Zuhl said. That incident was not on video but the subject of testimony from several witnesses.

Zuhl said evidence of medical treatment or a concussion diagnosis might have led to a different verdict. “If my spouse has a concussion I will take her to an emergency medical facility,” he said.

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