Evansville officer cited in bar fight

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Stacy Vogel
Friday, December 14, 2007
— An Evansville police officer was cited for disorderly conduct early Monday morning after police say he refused to leave a bar and provoked a fight at a private Christmas party in Milton.

Jason D. Grooms, 30, of 522 Lombard Drive, Milton, was one of four people cited or arrested at 12:15 a.m. Monday after a fight at Klub Bub Bar, 46 Merchant Row, Milton.

According to the report:

Grooms and his wife, Courtney L. Grooms, 25, arrived at Klub Bub Bar on Sunday night and were told the bar was closed for a private Christmas party.

According to Grooms’ statement, the bartender, Alan Oleston, told the couple they could stay for one drink. Oleston denied offering a drink to the couple and said he told them they had to leave immediately.

The report then describes a fight breaking out between Jason, Courtney and at least two patrons in the bar:

-- Shawn F. Lewis, 33, of 343 College St., Milton.

-- Steven H. White, 38, of 1132 Brown Drive, Milton.

Witnesses disagreed about who started the fight. Some blamed the Groomses, and some blamed Lewis and White. In his report, Milton Police Officer Brad Smith said he believed the Groomses' refusal to leave provoked the disturbance.

Jason Grooms called the police after Lewis and White hit him several times, giving him a bloody nose, according to his statement to police. Lewis and White were arrested on charges of misdemeanor battery.

All the participants had been drinking, and most were highly intoxicated, according to Smith’s report.

One witness, Thomas Garvin, said Jason Grooms told people in the bar “that he was a cop and that he could do what he wanted,” according to the police report.

Smith wrote that Grooms was “difficult to deal with” during the initial investigation:

“He initially refused to provide a written statement; I eventually convinced him to cooperate,” Smith wrote. “He was told that regardless of his position with Evansville that this agency would investigate the incident to its satisfaction. At one point Jason was reprimanded by a sheriff’s deputy for his continual intrusions during the investigation.”

Evansville Police Lt. Art Phillips confirmed Jason Grooms is a full-time officer with his department, but declined further comment.

Chief Scott McElroy was unavailable for comment because he is on vacation.

Last updated: 11:07 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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