16 News Now Investigates: Police footage of Mishawaka mayor’s son
MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A 16 News Now investigation is revealing new details about a traffic stop involving the mayor of Mishawaka’s son.
In video obtained from police by a 16 News Now Investigates public records request, police say they stopped 22-year-old Joe Wood (21 at the time of the traffic stop) for speeding, not using a turn signal, and having an expired plate. But after pulling him over, they were also suspicious that he had been drinking.
Joe Wood, the son of Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood, was stopped on Oct. 28, 2022, at E. Mishawaka Avenue and Indiana Avenue. But the officer who pulled him over said he had been following him for ten blocks before making the stop.
Wood was asked to step out of his car because he had a gun on the front seat, which is legal in Indiana. That’s when officers — now five of them on the scene — began asking Wood if he had been drinking. The conversation quickly turned to where Wood works and who he is related to.
But officers seem aware that despite Wood’s connections, he could be over the legal limit.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, those pulled over for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated will be asked to take a certified breath test. But no test is seen on the five DVDs of body-worn cameras and dashcam footage obtained from police.
Instead, officers waited for their shift supervisor to arrive… someone Joe Wood said he knows.
In the footage, Wood appears to be eager for Capt. Eric Beckham to arrive.
When Beckham arrives, he asks the officers to leave.
16 News Now Investigates reached out to the Mishawaka Police Department to ask if this is in line with their standard protocol. The chief of police declined an interview, saying he has nothing to add to the law enforcement video recordings already provided.
The mayor’s office also issued a statement, saying in part that Mayor Wood’s expectation is that everyone be treated fairly under the law, and that he did not find out about the traffic stop until after the fact.
There were no police reports filed in connection to this traffic stop, despite six different members of the Mishawaka Police Department being on scene. The only paper trail for this incident is this call for service report, which does not include Joe Wood’s name.
On Thursday morning, the Mishawaka Police Department confirmed with 16 News Now Investigates that this incident is under administrative review, and that no one has been disciplined in connection with the matter at this time.
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