News and Opinion New Harmony, Indiana

Jon Webb at the Evansville Courier Press wrote this very fine article about the historic 2009 New Harmony, Indiana ice storm.

However, one important part of New Harmony, Indiana ice storm history, that Webb forgot to mention was ………..

……………………..  that on the very night of that ice storm, right in the middle of all the wind blown frozen rain and sleet, that froze to all surfaces as fast as it fell, New Harmony, Indiana town Council president, David Campbell, had me arrested, shackled, wooled around and hauled to jail in Mt Vernon at 10 miles per hour over iced over roads.

My crime? I very peacefully refused to obey the order of the Town Board President, Campbell, to vacate a town council meeting at our New Harmony town hall. Campbell was apparently momentarily confused about whether our town hall was still in America or had been magically transported is some fascist dictatorship in Eastern Europe. He thought he could just arbitrarily order me to vamoose, and that I had to obey him.  

I kept my head, remembered both my geography and history lessons and pointed out to Campbell, that he could not legally order me out of a town meeting, unless I had broken a law or had created a danger to someone.  I had not touched anyone, raised my voice or threatened anyone. I had merely asked a question about the legality of the Town Board giving free rent to the Posey County News newspaper in a town owned building.  That was Campbell’s doing,m without the OK of the rest of the town board, and his head blew up, when I asked him about it in public. He “ordered” me to leave the town hall, and when I refused, he ordered the town marshal  to arrest me and take me to jail at the County Seat in Mt Vernon.


When the marshal arrested and cuffed me, the ice storm was already underway, and in full bloom. All the streets and sidewalks were already a sheet of ice. Because of the serious risk of an accident, the Marshall uncuffed me, when he put me in the police car, so that in the event of an accident, I could try to free myself from the wreckage. None of this, by the way, was the fault of the town marshal. He was just following direct orders from his boss Campbell the town board president.

After being hauled to Mt Vernon jail, at ten miles per hour, driving on solid ice, at great personal risk to both myself AND the town Marshall, I bonded out for grand sum total of fifty dollars bail.

Then, friends of mine had to risk their own safety over the icy roads, because Town Board President Campbell would not allow the Town Marshal, who took me to Mt Vernon to bring me back, after I posted the fifty dollar bail.

The town board president wanted me to cop a guilty plea and pay a $50 fine for disorderly conduct. I refused to be extorted, hired an attorney and asked for a jury trial. And, proceeded to rub the town board president’s nose in his own law breaking. 

Thirteen witnesses were called for sworn depositions. All of them were called by the town board not by me.  All thirteen were deposed under oath by the Posey County Prosecutor and by my attorney. All thirteen, excepting only Campbell himself, who was one of his own witnesses, testified under oath, that I had done nothing illegal or even disruptive. Not one could testify  that I had raised my voice, used vulgar language or threatened anyone. The only damning testimony against me was that one witness thought, he was a guy with only one eye, that I might have Gritted my teeth,” while being handcuffed. But, under questioning by my attorney, this witness admitted, that they could NOT actually swear under oath, that I had indeed gritted my teeth.  I was in fact, it being a night time meeting, not even wearing my dentures, this never came out in the depositions, but I was prepared to call my wife as a witness to testify, that my teeth were in a denture cup on my night stand, at the time of my arrest. 

I say AGAIN, not one of the witnesses called by the prosecution, was able to testify that I had done anything, that would legally constitute disorderly conduct. On the other hand, six of the witnesses testified under oath, that Campbell himself had raised his voice, used vulgar language and presented a threatening affect. 

Remember, these were Campbell’s OWN witnesses, and the things they said Campbell did, and that I did NOT do,  are the very legal definition of disorderly conduct.

I have retained official copies of the sworn testimony of all thirteen deposed witnesses. That includes Campbell, who under oath denied ever seeing a lease agreement between the town of New Harmony and the Posey County News. However, it was later demonstrated, and Campbell admitted, during further deposition, that his signature and his signature alone was on the lease agreement for the sweetheart rent deal with the Posey County News. He and no other town board mewmber had signed the lease, and Campbell became pretty flustered, when my attorney asked him under oath how he had managed to sign a document, that he had claimed to have never seen. Campbell was clearly demonstrated to be a lying bully and a stuffed shirt buffoon. FHVM

My policy with lawbreaking bullies, who use their position to cheat or harm ordinary citizens, is to make them uncomfortable enough, that they won’t want to do it again. And, ten years ago, I was successful with enacting that policy against David Campbell. 

Ahhh,  to be sixty five again!

posted by Ron Nesler from New Harmony, Indiana

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