10:31 PM

Mayor of Galena Resigns Amid Controversy Over Traffic Stop:

By Kathee Baird
December 16, 2014

Galena police officer Daniel Peeler
Galena police officer Daniel Peeler

Galena, Mo.-  The mayor of Galena resigned tonight at the beginning of a regularly scheduled meeting at city hall.
The controversy surrounding Dustin Bray began during a traffic stop involving his mother at the corner of Highway 248 and Fourth Street yesterday.  Officer Daniel Peeler had pulled Cheri Bray over for going 16 miles over the posted speed limit.
Before Peeler could exit his patrol car Mayor Bray approached his cruiser “all bowed up and ready to fight.”
“Bray placed his hands against the top of the door on  my patrol car not allowing me to get out if I had wanted to.  Mr. Bray very angrily told me he did not want his mom to get a ticket and slightly cocked his stance like he was bracing to throw a punch.” Peeler told him by law he was required to issue Ms. Bray a ticket for no insurance, but he would giver her a warning for speeding as a courtesy.
Bray then “sternly” told Peeler that he did not want his mom to get a ticket.
“Mr. Bray said he had fought for me to be employed by Galena, and asked me if I liked my job as a threat that I would be fired if I wrote a ticket.”
Officer Peeler told Bray that he “would rather be fired for doing my job and upholding the law than making an acceptation [sic] and break the law just to keep my job,” according to the report.
Area resident Jeff Baker told city leaders he was a witness to the traffic stop and that the officer used “excessive speed” and put the public in danger when he “flew” down the road in pursuit of a speeding Ms. Bray.  He added that he did not witness Dustin Bray approach the patrol vehicle in an aggressive manner.
It’s okay for people to go fast but not our cops,” said alderman John Coones.  “They’re getting a really bad reputation for doing their job.”

Last week Peeler was ticketed for not wearing a seat belt and causing an accident near Reeds Spring that inured an 18 year-old girl.  He was also cited for not having any insurance. 
When asked if any council members were prepared to ask for Bray’s resignation in light of the allegations Coones said, “We were hoping that Mr. Bray would do the right thing for himself and the city.”
“He indicated that instead of dragging everybody through the mud he wanted to do the right thing,” said city attorney Mel Gilbert.
“I think it was a stand up thing to do,” said Coones.

Police chief Ryan Breit asked council members to okay a purchase for body cameras for his officers.  Gilbert suggested that he seek federal funds to cover the cost.  

Bray was appointed mayor nine months ago to fill the vacant seat after no one ran for the office, according to City Clerk Lisa Chambers.  

A new mayor will be elected in April.  There is also a vacant seat for Ward 1 Alderman.

Copyright 2014 Stone County Chronicle