Judge charged with felony battery

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 allegedly 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 affidavit indicates that Phillips, Chief Mumbower, and Dunkirk Mayor Gene Ritter met on August 16 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 Mumbower alleged Phillips “aggressively charged” and shoved him with both hands in the chest area, knocking him back into a wall.  The incident was recorded on video.

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.

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.

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