MUSCATINE, Iowa — A Scott County judge said that Muscatine County Sheriff’s deputy Mike Wade may not have acted “with perfect judgment” when he used force against a suspect, but he didn’t break any laws.
Wade, 44, of Wilton, was found not guilty and acquitted of a serious assault charge on Tuesday in a Scott County court by Judge Douglas McDonald.
The charge stemmed from an incident on Jan. 23 in which Wade struck William Brent Duffe, 25, during an arrest near Wilton.
In making his ruling, McDonald said the court wasn’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Wade’s actions were not justified.
“In retrospect, he may not have acted with perfect judgement, but the loud, belligerent actions and
uncooperation (sic) of the two individuals (Brent Duffe and Travis Norton) would justify force.
“His actions did not rise to the level of a crime.”
In a statement released to the press, Wade said he wanted to thank his entire family, friends, and the community for supporting him. He also cited a Bible verse, John 8:32, that helped him through his trials: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“Fruitland Baptist Church and Calvary Church have played a huge role in my faith and ability to see through adversity,” Wade said.
Wade’s lawyer, Daniel Rothman, said he was
“ecstatic” that the matter was finally over for Wade.
“He’s an individual that lives to service his community.”
Rothman also said that it was interesting that the judge noted that there could have been some “political retribution” for the way the investigation was handled.
“Judge McDonald used some strong rhetoric when mentioning Sgt. Mike Bailey’s interview and investigation,” Rothman said.
In the court documents, McDonald said, “An interesting aspect of this case is that the defendant was interviewed on the record by Sgt. Bailey. The court believes that this interview played a part in the sheriff’s (Dave White) decision to fire the defendant.
“The discharge was appealed to the Civil Service Commission and the deputy was reinstated after a two-month layoff. It should be noted that this defendant ran against the sheriff in the last election, which raises the question of possible political retaliation. The interview by Sgt. Bailey did not appear to be neutral and objective.”