Fountain City officials announced Friday the town would have additional police presence for its 7 p.m. meeting May 2 after a video of a confrontation at last month’s meeting went viral online and prompted harassing calls from around the nation.
Clerk-Treasurer Trina McGuire told WWN that state and county police would be active near the meeting to support Town Marshal Carey Martin, who was present for the April 4 confrontation and responded swiftly to separate those involved.
McGuire said resident David Oakes attended the April meeting to express concern with his water unexpectedly being off for about an hour on a Saturday. Oakes asked why his calls to the town’s after-hours water department cell phone went unanswered until Monday, when he contacted the clerk. He said the only explanation could be that his water was turned off because his neighbors still had water. He said service was miraculously restored after emailing town officials.
However, McGuire said Friday that it didn’t make sense for anyone to come in on their day off to turn off a customer’s water and stay about an hour before turning it back on.
McGuire said Oakes has previously “cussed out” town employees, so those present at that meeting were on edge as he spoke.
After Oakes made hand gestures and moved his arm while asking why he had to deal with Charles “Chase” Tice, the water and sewer superintendent, Tice threw a set of keys at Oakes and left the meeting, McGuire said.
An area resident shared a video clip of the meeting, originally recorded by Whitewater Community Television, with a political video and audio podcast. That led to phone calls “involving harassment, cussing and threats” from around the country, McGuire said, containing criticism of council members and references to the Second Amendment’s clause on the right to bear arms, including what McGuire called “active shooter-type threats.”
The town began screening its calls and the negative calls have since diminished, she said.
Town officials conducted an executive session to discuss the confrontation, and a vote will be made public at the May 2 meeting, McGuire said. Disciplinary action was taken, but has not yet been announced.
However, McGuire confirmed Friday that Tice is no longer a town employee.
Tice was hired in August 2018 to focus on streets, and became superintendent in 2021.