Mishawaka Mayor refuses to take questions about son's traffic stop

NOW: Mishawaka Mayor refuses to take questions about son’s traffic stop

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - While Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood took time to highlight the Princess City's accomplishments, Thursday, he wasn't willing to take tough questions about the Mishawaka Police Department's handling of a controversial traffic stop involving his son.

Officers pulled over the mayor's son, Joe Wood, while driving in October, 2022. On the body camera footage police describe Joe as "bombed", say he smells like alcohol, and describe him as stumbling around. During the stop officers realize Joe Wood is the mayor's son and ultimately offer him a ride home instead of conducting a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.

Mayor Wood has avoided questions about the stop and did so again after the 2023 State of the City address. Following the Mayor's speech, Executive Director of Development and Governmental Affairs for the City of Mishawaka, Matthew Lentsch, informed reporters that Mayor Wood refused to take part in any interviews involving questions about the way officers handled his son's traffic stop.

Up to this point, Wood's only comments to ABC57 on the incident have been pre-written statements; one which commended the department's "hometown approach".

"I’m just thinking it’s another one of those things where somebody has power and they can get away with some misdeeds,” Mishawaka resident Albert Nagy speculated about the incident.

Mishawaka Police Department said it determined no law was broken. But the incident becoming public lead to the voluntary demotion of a Mishawaka Police captain.

"Everyone should be treated fairly under the law," Mayor Wood said in a written statement emailed April 16. "I continue to have complete confidence in the leadership and officers of the Mishawaka Police Department and their hometown approach."

Mayor Wood claims he did not know about the traffic stop until after the fact.

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