Dunkerton citizens petition for mayor to step down - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dunkerton citizens petition for mayor to step down

Dunkerton Mayor Michael Schares Dunkerton Mayor Michael Schares
Thomas Adamson Thomas Adamson

A petition asking the mayor to step down is circulating in Dunkerton after criminal charges were filed against the city's mayor.

Dunkerton Mayor Michael Schares and his nephew Thomas Adamson have been charged with interference with official acts and harassment of a public official.

Jane Wagner, a criminal justice instructor and former law enforcement officer, is leading the effort to persuade Schares to step down. She's trying convince the City Council to remove him, alleging willful misconduct in office and corruption.

The council is not obligated to take action if a petition calling for Schares' ouster is given to the council, State Ombudsman Ruth Cooperrider said.

An investigation was launched into a Dec. 2 traffic stop where Adamson's wife was pulled over by a Dunkerton police officer for speeding.

Adamson, a passenger in the vehicle, allegedly called Schares to the scene. 

The officer said both men were aggressive toward him.

On January 9, Schares said it was the officer that was acting belligerent.

A lot of people expected a heated discussion and perhaps some hot tempers at the Dunkerton City Council meeting. It didn't happen during the meeting. 

The regular meeting was cordial. Mayor Mike Schares denied any abuse of power in connection with a controversial traffic stop Dec. 2. In that traffic stop, Teresa Adamson, got a speeding ticket from Dunkerton Police Officer Robert Roquet. The incident, captured on video from a police squad car dash cam, has launched a Black Hawk County investigation and spurred talk of corruption at Dunkerton City Hall.

On January 9, Dunkerton City Council agenda included discussion over possible elimination of the Dunkerton Police Department as a way to save money.  Schares has been in contact with Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson. If the Dunkerton City Council would approve the idea, Black Hawk County officers would provide all of the law enforcement duties for Dunkerton, as they already do in Raymond and Elk Run Heights.

Many Dunkerton residents believe the Mayor's sudden interest in getting rid of the Dunkerton Police Department stems from that Dec. 2, traffic stop near the Dunkerton Kwik Star.

Part-time Dunkerton Police officer Robert Roquet pulled over Teresa Adamson for speeding that night. Roquet says he clocked Adamson at 70-miles an hour in a 55-mile an hour speed zone. Adamson is a former Dunkerton City Clerk and Mayor and is married to Tom Adamson, a nephew of Dunkerton Mayor Mike Schares.

Some say Mayor Schares personally intervened, actually showing up after the traffic stop and later, allegedly firing officer Roquet that night. Schares says Officer Roquet was never fired, though the City Council Monday night voted unanimously to give Roquet three days pay he says he lost. He's now back on the job in Dunkerton. Mayor Schares denied that he intervened in any way.

"He did not call me to come to the scene. The only thing he asked me was, if they had to show him the radar, and I said all you have to do is ask him to show you the radar," Schares said. "Some belligerent words came out of my policeman towards me, and that's why I went to the scene, and that's all I'm going to say."

Officer Roquet's wife, Angie, has see the videotape of the incident, and says her husband wasn't the one being belligerent.

"He was very calm and handled himself completely calm and respectful. It's not true what he said," she said.

Shortly after the incident, Mayor Shares contacted Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson about the possibility of having county officers take over in Dunkerton.

A Black Hawk County investigation is reportedly underway involving the traffic stop circumstances. Sources say the squad car dash cam video shows Mayor Schares having words with Officer Roquet. That videotape has been turned over to Black Hawk County authorities as part of the investigation.

Dunkerton Councilman, Richard Ede, says he believes Mayor Schares overstepped his authority in connection with the traffic stop Dec. 2. 

"I really believe he overstepped his bounds, if you want to know the truth. That's my opinion," Ede said.

Dunkerton Police Chief Tim Schultz says his officers must be able to do the law enforcement work they are sworn to do.

"We've got to be able to do our jobs without threats of intimidation, or worrying about what if I do this, what's going to happen. That was a very tough spot that officer was put in," Schultz said.

Adamson and Schares will be in court together on March 20.




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