Mantua mayor resigns days after former police chief speaks about termination

Local News

MANTUA, Utah (ABC4) – After the former police chief said he was fired over not writing enough tickets, the mayor of a northern Utah town has resigned.

In late March, now-former Chief of Mantua Police, Michael Castro, and two other officers resigned.

At the time, Castro told ABC4 he was asked to resign two days after receiving Police Chief of the Year for a small town by the Utah Chiefs of Police Association over a “disagreement” with the city. 

Castro says he refused to resign, so he was dismissed. Two other part-time officers have also resigned due to Chief Castro’s dismissal, leaving Mantua with no police officers at the time.

Just days ago, Castro spoke with ABC4’s Jordan Verdadeiro, saying that when Mayor Michael Johnson asked him to issue more citations, he disagreed, sparking the disagreements that lead to his dismissal.

“The mayor got very angry with me and told me that I was working under the authority of him and that’s why I have the job and I told him yeah, that’s correct, but what you ask me to do has to be legal,” says Castro.

At the time, Mayor Johnson told ABC4 he did not have a comment.

Now, April 26, Mayor Johnson has announced his resignation, effective the same day at 1 p.m.

In a letter of resignation posted to the town’s Facebook page at 11:30 a.m., Johnson says:

“I, Michael Johnson, do hereby officially submit my resignation as Mantua Town Mayor effective April 26, 2021 at 1 p.m. I have enjoyed serving my fellow citizens and the friendships I have made. My hope is that the divisiveness in the town will now stop and healing will begin, and Mantua will once again become the great town we moved into many years ago. I have enjoyed working with the town council and town staff. They are great people. They spend many thankless hours serving the community.

My last privilege is to swear in a new police chief. Hopefully, you will all get to know him and find him to be a fair and friendly officer.”

In a post less than an hour prior, city officials announced the new Chief of Police, Craig Hamer.

ABC4 is working to gather additional information – stick with us on air and online for continuing coverage.

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