Two Bay City bikers with ties to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club have received jail time for the beating of a man in a local bar. Eric J. Kerkau, 47, and Arthur R. Miller, 33, appeared before Bay County Circuit Judge Harry P. Gill for sentencing on Monday, July 30. Both men in June pleaded guilty to assault with intent to cause great bodily harm less than murder, a 10-year felony and the lone charge they each faced.
Gill sentenced both men to one year in jail. Gill gave Kerkau credit for 48 days already served in jail, but gave Miller zero days' credit. Gill gave Miller until 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, to report to the Bay County Jail. Miller is also to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three times a week, the judge ruled.
Upon their release, both men are to be on probation for five years, the first 180 days of which is to be spent on an alcohol-detecting tether. Gill also ordered Kerkau, who had earlier violated a bond condition by failing to submit to a court-ordered preliminary Breathalyzer test, to pay $19,382.42 in restitution to his victim, Scott M. Peterson.
Miller's case is set for a restitution review on Sept. 10.
The judge also ordered Kerkau and Miller have no contact with each other or with Peterson. The duo's crime occurred just before 1 a.m. on Dec. 27 inside the Whyte Goose Inn, 108 S. State St. in Bay City. Police responded to the bar after a bartender called 911 to report an assault had just occurred. Bay County Central Dispatch relayed to the officers that two members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (link is external) had caused a ruckus.
Surveillance camera video footage, obtained by MLive via a Freedom of Information Act request, shows the 49-year-old Peterson standing near the bar. He is arguing with a man police have said is Miller, who stands opposite him. A woman is between them, apparently trying to quell their dispute. Standing closer to Peterson and slightly behind him is a man police have said is Kerkau.
Miller puts a cigarette in his mouth, dons his coat, and walks out of frame. A few moments later, as Peterson continues speaking with the woman who intervened in his dispute with Miller, Kerkau takes a few steps back, then quickly steps forward and twice punches Peterson in the head. The two begin scuffling as others move in to break them apart.
As they grapple, Miller walks back into frame and yanks Peterson from behind. He knocks him to the ground and repeatedly knees him in the face. He and Kerkau then kick Peterson several times, with Miller stomping him at least twice. Peterson stays on the ground for the rest of the clip.
Peterson testified in a March preliminary examination that the incident left him with injuries to his shoulder, knee, and ribs. He suffered a slightly detached retina in his right eye, which has required two laser surgeries. He also required six staples to mend a wound in the back of his scalp, he said.
Bartender Ashley Schwartz said the three men had argued over a belief that Peterson had taken a photo of the two bikers on his cellphone. During the dispute, Miller had made comments about being "black and white" and that "nobody needs to have any black and white on their phones," Schwartz said.
"One gentlemen stood up, took his coat off, and tried to initiate a fight," Schwartz said, identifying Miller. "I tried to stop it. The gentlemen that tried to initiate a fight tried to get Scott to come outside and fight him, but he would not go. The other gentleman (Kerkau) who was still in the bar ... took a few steps back and just sucker-punched (Peterson). It just proceeded from there."
Peterson denied having taken a photo of Kerkau or Miller.
Bay City Public Safety Officer Todd Armstrong testified he responded to the scene and recovered a necklace bearing a Black Pistons medallion. The Black Pistons is a support club of the Outlaws.
Armstrong added that Kerkau's Facebook page featured references to his "black and white brothers."
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