VALPARAISO — Felony charges have been dropped against a former mayor of Michigan City.
The six felony counts of intimidation and misconduct against Ron Meer were dismissed Thursday.
Two remaining misdemeanor counts of false informing will be dismissed on or before Feb. 25 as long as Meer isn’t charged with any further crimes, according to his attorney, Scott King.
The resolution to the allegations was granted by Porter Superior Court Judge Jeff Thode at the request of Jasper County Prosecutor Jacob Taulman.
Thode and Taulman were brought in to handle the case away from the local political arena given the players involved on both sides of the allegations.
King said the dismissal of charges substantiates his and Meer's claim of a “political hit job.”
“Nothing has changed my mind that there were political considerations made in the bringing of these charges literally on the eve of an election,” King said.
The charges stem from Meer’s behavior following the drug-related arrest of his stepson, Adam Bray, during a traffic stop less than a month before the November 5 election.
Meer publicly alleged his stepson was targeted by his political opponents, including LaPorte County Prosecutor John Lake, to cost him a third term.
Police Chief Mark Swistek stepped down, alleging in his resignation letter that Meer demanded the arresting officers be reassigned. Two assistant police chiefs also resigned.
Meer, a Democrat, was then arrested six days before the election. He lost by 76 votes to Republican Duane Parry in a four-candidate race.
Bray, who has a prior conviction for dealing cocaine, entered a guilty plea and is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 17.
King said a decision will be made at some point on whether to seek damages for Meer in a civil lawsuit.
“We’ll let the dust settle a bit. It’s certainly not off the table,” King said.
Lake said politics was not involved in any of the cases.
He also said the judge when first presented the evidence against Meer ruled there was probable cause to charge him.
Since being replaced by an outside prosecutor, Lake said he hasn’t followed the Meer case and doesn’t know if anything developed in recent months that helped the defense.
“Everything was done appropriately on our end,” he said.
Taulman said his decision had nothing to do with any weaknesses in the allegations.
“I believe the charges filed were appropriate,” he said.
However, Taulman said Meer writing an apology to his former chief and other officers who felt victimized by his statements was a factor in deciding not to prosecute.
He said such actions are taken into account in other cases where circumstances dictate a second chance.
“We’re certainly not above some grace and mercy at times and we believe this was an appropriate time to go ahead and extend that,” Taulman said.
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