Ex-Gladstone official requests police report on opponent
Steve Johnson, a former Gladstone city councilor whom voters recalled in May 2017, requested a police report against a political opponent.
Police investigated the Oct. 13 incident and spoke to the local bar owner, who said that the report was "not a big deal at all" and everyone involved would be allowed back in the pub.
Johnson had reported fellow citizen Greg Alexander walking into High Rocks Restaurant & Lounge and entering a room where Johnson was holding a meeting with seven other politically active community members. Alexander had helped collect signatures to force Johnson's recall from office last year.
Johnson said that the doors of the unlocked High Rocks Pub banquet room "burst open" when Alexander entered. Alexander took a photo of the eight people meeting before Johnson told him to leave. According to all accounts, Alexander was in the room for about 30 seconds. Johnson told police that after Alexander left, City Councilor Linda Neace, who was at the meeting in support of Tom Mersereau's mayoral campaign, called Alexander, and they had a "verbal argument about the incident."
Gladstone Officer James Macfarlane asked Johnson what he hoped to accomplish by calling the police.
"I went over some possible options and he elected to have the incident documented in this information report," Macfarlane wrote. "Mr. Johnson told me that he felt like 'some lines had been crossed' in reference to Mr. Alexander's actions. I left it up to Mr. Johnson as to whether I contacted Mr. Alexander and he stated that he preferred that I did."
Alexander told Macfarlane that he had seen a notice for the meeting on social media. Alexander said that he believed that the bar/restaurant was a "public place" and that he was within his rights to take the photo, which he texted to Macfarlane as part of the case file.
Macfarlane spoke with the pub owner who said she saw a man she now believes was Alexander walking around the restaurant like he was looking for something.
"She assumed he was looking for the restroom, but now realizes he was most likely looking for the group that was in the banquet room," Macfarlane wrote. "After about a total of three minutes she saw the same man walk back out the bar entrance door and Steve Johnson came running out behind him telling her that the guy was bad news and that she should kick him out and that Steve explained he was for our opponent."
She told police this same man who took the photograph would be allowed back in the restaurant.
Johnson said that the report was incorrect on several points.
"I did not 'run' after Greg ... I don't recall telling her to 'kick him out' since he had already left," Johnson said. "His demeanor and aggressive stance were concerning to me so I thought that it would be a good idea to have it on record with the Gladstone PD."
Even if the meeting was mentioned on social media, Johnson said that Alexander was in no way invited to the private meeting on private property in a closed room.