Were the warning signs there, and we just didn't notice it?

I was getting ready to go to bed, and just checking the Rapid City Journal's website, where I see this note for an upcoming story tomorrow AM:

Tomorrow's Journal

  • Belle Fourche mayor in court for domestic violence
And I'm thinking to myself.... "Isn't this the guy who was in the bar fight?"

If the story in the AM is about Belle Fourche Mayor Todd Keller, then it would likely be the same guy.

I was frankly a little shocked that he was re-elected after that little episode in October 2003. Maybe I'm being a little bit of a moralist, but I frankly thought that the voters would say "public officials getting involved in bar fights isn't cool."

Yes, I know he was never charged or convicted, and this was after the DCI investigated. But C'mon. The guy is the mayor of the town. I was a little dumbfounded that he'd get into that sort of situation anyway.

But they put him back into office anyway. I wonder if tonight the voters are thinking that maybe - just maybe - they made a mistake?

This all goes back to the fact that public officials have to realize that the microscope is on them. We complain about when sports figures act up. Well, this guy is the mayor of his town - and he's being involved in things that in polite society most people try to avoid.

And since he's a political figure, even the glimmer of an accusation should be avoided at all costs.

In news googling the term as I'm writing the story - the Aberdeen American News is johnny on the spot, and has the big scoop on the story, courtesy of the associated press:

Belle Fourche mayor accused of felony aggravated assault

Associated Press

Mayor Todd Keller was arrested Wednesday night on charges of felony aggravated assault, according to Butte County State's Attorney Jim Seward.

Officials said he was being held on a $5,000 cash bond in the Meade County Jail on Thursday, pending a court appearance.

Keller was arrested after an investigation of a report of domestic violence in his home, Seward said. Concerned family members made the report, the prosecutor said.

According to a probable cause affidavit on file in the Butte County Courthouse, officials claim Keller assaulted his wife on numerous occasions in their home.

Read it all here.

Well, it looks like the mayor is in a bad position again. He was cleared of charges in a bar fight, and now he's facing felony aggravated assault charges against his wife.

This will be a pretty big story out in the hills for the next few days. The part I'd like to know is whether he steps down from his position as a community leader and political figure.

Because in my opinion, the example he's setting isn't that great.

And at this moment, my thoughts and prayers are with his wife and the rest of the family. They need their community's support.


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