No charges against Tri-State police chief accused of politically motivated arrest
The police chief allegedly ordered the man’s arrest and then encouraged another person to run in his place.
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Indiana (WXIX) - Two members of the Brookville Police Department will not face criminal charges after allegedly arresting a political candidate on drummed-up charges because they thought he was anti-police.
Indiana State Police appointed a special prosecutor to the case on Aug. 5. The special prosecutor, Andrew Bryson, reviewed the ISP investigation and decided Thursday not to charge either Brookville Police Chief Terry Mitchum or Lt. Ryan Geiser.
Geiser arrested Brookville Town Board candidate Trevin Thalheimer earlier this summer on charges of rape and drug possession.
Geiser claimed in court Mitchum ordered the arrest.
Thalheimer’s attorney, Judson McMillin claimed the pair obtained a search warrant after claiming they smelled marijuana on Thalheimer and his friend.
The drug charge was later dropped. The rape charge, according to McMillin, was void in the first place because it was based on an old allegation that did not result in a prosecution.
Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Huerkamp said he was disturbed at the conduct of the investigation and arrest. A court transcript shows Huerkamp was not consulted alleged DNA evidence.
Court documents show Brookville resident Aleese Whitamore came forward saying the officers had also encouraged her to run against Thalheimer. She told FOX19 she never wanted to run. Her testimony helped clear Thalheimer.
The incident nevertheless forced Thalheimer to drop out of the race.
“I was shocked and in disbelief. Furious,” he said in August.
Thalheimer added he doesn’t understand why Mitchum and Geiser thought he held anti-police views. “I never had stated that. I was under the impression that, you know, when it comes to the Brookville Police Department, that they’re all fair guys.”
Reacting to special prosecutor’s announcement Thursday, McMillan said their case is “not over by any stretch of the imagination.”
He said of Thalheimer, “He’s disappointed in the decision. He’s disappointed for himself. But he also, I believe, is disappointed for the fact that this might not send the right message that these types of things aren’t going to be happening.”
McMillan says Thalheimer is “fully on board” with continuing civil litigation.
Mitchum offered the following statement Thursday evening:
“As I previously stated I was confident no wrongdoing would be found on the part of my department or I. At all times the Brookville Police Department followed the evidence at hand. I stand by my department’s determination of probable cause resulting in the arrest of the parties involved. I’m thankful for the results of the Indiana State Police investigation, yet deeply saddened by the effect these events have had on my department and my family.
“I’ve watched as my community has lost trust in a police department that I know has always held the public’s best interest as their highest priority. I understand the community’s response due to the salacious nature of some the articles published regarding this investigation. I have a tremendous respect for my community and hope this is the first step in regaining their confidence and trust. I believe several factors played part in the distortion of this situation. Due to the national coverage this story has received, I will refrain from further explanation until consulting my Attorneys.”
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