Muncie Police Officers Caught Running Illegal Background Checks

(MUNCIE) – In Indiana, police need a legitimate reason to run a background check on you.

But a journalist in Muncie says police officers there ran background checks on he and Audie Barber, even though they were not targets of a criminal investigation, after they had asked for public records.

The issue was discussed at a city council meeting last night in which people had to be turned away from the meeting because so many people showed up.

Kristopher Bilbrey says he found out about the background checks from an Indiana State Police investigation, after he had been tipped off by odd text messages he got from a number that was untraceable.

“You know getting followed out of town and getting text messages with my information on my drivers record and with information that nobody else knows, like a seat belt ticket, that’s really concerning,” Bilbery said.

One of the officers who ran Barber’s name was Muncie city councilwoman Nora Powell’s own son. Powell is seeking re-election this year. The information that Bilbery had requested from the Freedom of Information Act involved communication between Powell and another city employee.

“I was made aware that there were some violations of the rules and I was made aware that one of those was my son,” Powell said. “Of course I don’t condone that. I was not involved in anyway shape or form.”

She added that she found out about the whole thing months after the fact.

Muncie police chief Joe Winkle said his officers have been retrained on when it is and isn’t legal to run a background check on someone.