MICHIGAN CITY – An outspoken critic of the mayor, now barred from City Hall during business hours by order of a judge, says he is unhappy, but not surprised with the ruling, which he claims is politically motivated.
Starke County Judge Kim Hall, acting as special judge in the case, extended an Order of Protection sought by Mayor Ron Meer. The judge ruled Rodney McCormick must stay out of and away from City Hall from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays; must stay away from Meer's home; and must stop threatening and contacting the mayor and his family.
“I am very displeased with the ruling in this matter, but I am hardly surprised," McCormick said in a statement late Thursday.
"The judge’s ruling momentarily abridges my right to freedom of speech, political speech, and my right to assemble. It is in direct conflict with our U.S. Constitution under the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1."
McCormick, whom Judge Hall wrote was a "credible threat" to the mayor and his family, said the judicial process was unfair from the start, including the initial Order of Protection granted Meer in November 2018. That followed an incident at City Hall in which McCormick was arrested for allegedly threatening to "shoot the place up," though the charge was later dismissed.
"To begin with, in the initial court documents, there were never specific dates or times," McCormick said. "Timeframes were vague at best. When we went for the hearing, there were no witnesses. Meer was the only person to testify, although there was a long list of witnesses prior to our actual hearing date.
"There was no evidence presented against me at the hearing; there were no supporting documents; no witness statements; no dates. Meer testified that all threats made by me towards him were found on my Facebook page. He went on to say he has watched hundreds of hours of my Facebook posts. He claimed that all I did was make threats against him and his family."
McCormick denied making any threats at all.
"These statements are all false. At no point did I make any threats or harass Meer. Unfortunately, here in Michigan City, it seems that when a city administrator/elected official files a claim he/she is not required to prove its credibility."
McCormick believes the Order of Protection is an attempt to silence his criticism of the mayor.
"It’s a sad day in America when public officials use protective orders to silence private citizens who are not in agreement with their political standing. It also saddens me that there are other elected officials, including judges, who have made it their business to attack my right to liberty. When judges play hardball with our constitution it comes back to haunt them.
"Corruption is so deep seeded in Michigan City that the Police Department violated state law by recording court proceedings at the Knox hearing. This violates the very law that Indiana police are supposed to uphold. Yet, again, there are no repercussions for these acts."
McCormick, however, said he will not be silenced, and will appeal the ruling.
"No matter, I will continue to expose the corruption in our community," he said. "Court of Appeals, here I come."