Posted: Jul 12, 2012 6:19 PM by Adrian Pittman
Updated: Jul 12, 2012 6:19 PM
SPRINGFIELD - News traveled fast in the small town of Springfield after Mayor Charles Martin and Police Chief James Jones were formally indicted after allegedly reducing a DWI ticket to reckless operation.
But residents told News 2 they still back the two men.
"They good people," says Andy Berthelot.
The state Attorney General's Office charged the men with one count obstruction of justice, one count of criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of injuring public records, and one count of criminal conspiracy to injure public records.
"A message needs to be sent and that message is it doesn't matter the size of the town, it's rather something is right or wrong," said David Caldwell with the AG's Office.
According to arrest warrants a Springfield police officer pulled over a woman driving the wrong way down the highway. The breathalizer showed her at .185, twice the legal limit for driving. The arresting officer says the mayor tried to get the woman out of it, but she was taken to jail and charged with DWI. The next day, the charges were lowered.
"To have an honest police officer who did what he was suppose to do, then be controlled by somebody who doesn't have authority to do that is corrupt," said Caldwell.
Caldwell's primary job as the director of public corruption and special prosecution division is to make sure things like this doesn't continue to happen.
"These are the kinds of cases in small towns that can ruin the place, because if someone is doing these types of things, the question becomes what else are they doing," he said.
But Berthelot is convinced that the mayor and police chief are doing a fine job running the city.
"If that the way it was, he probably did wrong, but everybody does something wrong once in awhile," Berthelot said.