A small-town police department and is embroiled in a rather dramatic case of intrigue and malfeasance. The issue gained national attention this week when one police officer served summons to both the mayor and the chief-of-police at a public meeting. The chief-of-police then immediately fired the officer. And it only gets more convoluted from there.
Sergeant Brad Mick of the New Holland Police Department in Ohio was handed a termination letter and his last paycheck on Monday just moments after he handed felony summons to Mayor Clair “Butch” Betzko and Police Chief David Conrad.
The mayor refused to accept the summons and threw it back at the officer. Conrad accepted his, then fired Sergeant Mick. He handed him a termination letter and his last paycheck.
The summons were issued after Mick obtained a search warrant for his own department. He found probable cause for felony forgery. The mayor is charged with complicity to forgery and obstruction of official business.
After he was fired, “Mick walked back into the lobby where there was standing room only and said, ‘Just so you know, people, if you do the right think around here, you get terminated’,” the local paper writes.
The crowd that had gathered there wasn’t pleased by the news and broke into chants demanding the mayor’s resignation.
“Conrad is accused of illegally signing the name of former police chief Jason Lawless on a form that was faxed to the Ohio Attorney General’s office last week. Betzko is accused of backing up the signature as a witness and allegedly falsely giving Lawless the oath of office, despite Lawless reportedly being out of state,” The Fayette Advocate writes.
There is a separate charge for obstruction of justice, too. “According to that complaint,” The Advocate writes, “Mick was interviewing a suspect inside the village building on July 10 when Betzko called him and ordered him to cease the interrogation. The suspect interview was surrounding possible wrong doing by the current police and former police chief, according to the affidavit filed with the court.”
After his termination, Mick released a statement:
“This is not about me, this is about the law and the village.”
“As I wrote in my affidavits, there is probable cause of criminal violations and I carried out my oath of office by investigating them. As a result, evidence was obtained that supported the complaint and charges were filed.”
“I started this process and I will see it through to the end. My termination does not undo the criminal acts by others and it will not erase evidence or dismiss the charges. While it is disheartening and a violation of the law to be retaliated against and terminated for obeying the oath of office, it does not stop here. This is about the law and the law will be carried out. What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong. It doesn’t matter who you are. No title or office should shield you with immunity.”
“This is a law enforcement matter and while I respect the desire for answers, there will be no media interviews granted. Thank you.”
The latest twist comes in the revelation that the mayor tried to get Mick arrested for stealing his own department vehicle. While he was serving the warrant on his own department, she ordered the Chief of Police to issue a stolen vehicle report and demanded that the sheriff’s department handle the arrest.
No arrest was made.