|Booking photo for Mayor Greg Buum (left) and Armstrong police chief Craig Merrill.Emmet County Sheriffs Office|
The mayor, police chief, city clerk and a former city clerk of a small Midwest town were all arrested for allegedly abusing their power — with crimes including stealing money, falsifying records and strong-arming civilians, officials said.
In one instance, a resident in Armstrong, Iowa — population 840 — was attacked by one of the defendants with a stun gun to shake them down for money, authorities said.
“Mayor Greg Buum, police chief Craig Merrill, city clerk Tracie Lang, and former city clerk Connie Thackery were charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in a 21-count joint trial information approved by the Emmet County District Court,” the Emmet County sheriff said in a statement.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed charges on Feb. 11 after a multi-year investigation uncovered allegations of theft, felonious misconduct in office, tampering with records, assault with a dangerous weapon and falsifying public records, according to the release.
One of the defendants — it wasn’t immediately clear which — deployed a Taser on a civilian in exchange for cash, officials allege.
Buum, Merrill and Thackery face a top charge of ongoing criminal conduct — a Class B felony.
Lang’s top rap is fraudulent practice in the first degree — a Class C felony.
State prosecutors have taken over the case due to a local conflict of interest, officials said.
Additional arrests are said to be pending.