An Indiana police chief and lieutenant were suspended with pay after arresting a potential candidate for local office on drug and rape charges that were later dropped.
Brookville police Chief Terry Mitchum and Lt. Ryan Geiser reportedly thought Trevin Thalheimer, who was considering running for town council, had anti-police views and wanted to torpedo his candidacy, WXIX-TV reported.
“I was shocked and in disbelief. Furious,” Thalheimer said.
Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Huerkamp later dismissed the charges against Thalheimer.
Thalheimer said the charges “blindsided” him and led him to drop out of the race. He added that he never said he was “anti-law enforcement.”
“I don’t know where they got that impression that I was,” he said. “I never had stated that. I was under the impression that, you know, when it comes to the Brookfield Police Department, that they’re all fair guys.”
Thalheimer’s attorney Judson McMillin said the officers got a search warrant after suspecting his client and his friend of smelling like marijuana. They later arrested them and added a rape charge against Thalheimer related to an old allegation that failed to lead to a prosecution, according to WXIX-TV.
“Any time you start mixing police power with political preferences, you got major problems, and that’s what we had here,” McMillin said.
Court documents detailed by WXIX-TV describe officers asking Thalheimer’s friend, Aleese Whittamore, to run against him because he “hates cops.”
Whittamore’s testimony reportedly helped clear Thalheimer of the charges.
The suspended cops are now under criminal investigation by the Indiana State Police, The Washington Post reported.
“I have a bad taste in my mouth about politics,” Thalheimer said. “I knew politics was dirty, but I didn’t know I’d have to dumpster dive.”