Jury trial begins for 2 former IMPD officers accused of beating veteran

Michael Reiger (left) and John Serban. (Provided Photos/IMPD)
Michael Reiger (left) and John Serban. (Provided Photos/IMPD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two veteran Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers will take the stand Monday morning, after they are accused of beating a man at a south side Indianapolis bar.

Michael Reiger and John Serban were both arrested in August 2014 on battery charges.

Serban had been with the department for 16 years and Reiger had been with IMPD for 15 years.

The incident in August happened at a bar in the 5100 block of South Emerson Avenue. Witnesses and surveillance video show one of the officers putting a bar customer into a choke hold until the customer was unconscious, according to court documents. Then, another officer kicked or punched the man while he was unconscious. The duo dragged the man outside of the bar while he wasn’t conscious.

That bar customer, was 29-year-old Bradford Bohanon, an Air Force veteran. He said he’s seen the video from inside the bar, as well.

“From seeing it, just had a gut-wrenching feeling. They could have killed me,” he said.

Bohanon though, said his main message is that he doesn’t want the actions of two officers, to affect anyone’s opinions of the entire police department.

“I’ve had nothing but good experiences with police my entire life,” said Bohanon. “No matter how bad this situation is, or how much it hurt physically or emotionally, it’s not going to shake my faith or trust in the police department.”

According to court documents, Bohanon and a bartender got into a disagreement, and she asked him to leave.

Court documents said the fight started after Bohanon got upset over his bar tab and that’s when Serban flashed his badge inciting the fight.

Documents show the doorman at the bar tried to break up the confrontation, and Serban struck him in the face.

According to court documents, video shows Serban put Bohanon in a choke hold for a full minute, until he was unconscious. Video shows Officer Reiger continued to strike Bohanon, even while he was unconscious. Video shows Reiger drag Bohanon, face down, while unconscious, outside the bar, while Serban strikes Bohanon’s head.

“All I know they could have broke my skull,” said Bohanon.

“They carried it too far,” he added.

The jury trial begins Monday at 9 a.m.