Family feud results in judge being suspended by Indiana Supreme Court

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Supreme Court has imposed an immediate interim suspension without pay on Judge Tommy D. Phillips, II of Jay County Dunkirk City Court for aggressively pushing a police officer.

According to an affidavit from the Jay County Clerk’s Office, Phillips has been charged with one count of battery against Dunkirk Chief of Police Dane Mumbower, who is also Phillips’ nephew. Battery against a public safety official is a level 6 felony.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed a “Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension” with the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday. The interim suspension will remain in effect until further order of the court or final determination of any disciplinary proceedings.

The affidavit revealed that Phillips, Chief Mumbower, and Dunkirk Mayor Gene Ritter were meeting to discuss a conflict between Phillips and the Dunkirk Police Department. During the meeting, Chief Mumbower allegedly felt he was not being respected by Phillips and decided to leave. It was at this point that Phillips “aggressively charged” Mumbower and shoved him with both hands in the chest area, knocking him back into a wall.

Mumbower alleged that Mayor Ritter told him as his boss that he was not permitted to leave the meeting. Mumbower later reported feeling a “sore/pain sensation” in his lower back. Audio and video of the meeting provided evidence in support of Mumbower’s claim.

An initial hearing has been set for October 10, at 4:30 p.m. at the Jay County Superior Court in Portland, Indiana.