President of Southport City Council sues police for ‘political’ investigation

SOUTHPORT, Ind. – In the spring of 2015, Shara Hostetler was running for the job of clerk-treasurer in the city of Southport.

At the same time, the father of her child, Marc Hostetler, was under investigation by Southport police for allegedly impersonating a police officer.

According to a federal lawsuit, on April 25, 2015, police raided Shara’s house, looking for a gun, based on an anonymous tip that they thought belonged to or could be accessed by Marc Hostetler.

What investigators found was Shara’s legally owned .22 Derringer.

Southport police never could draw a connection between Marc Hostetler and the gun, the charges against him were eventually dropped and Shara got her firearm back, but only after losing the race for Clerk-Treasurer.

She was never charged with a crime.

“The search warrant was served less than two weeks before the primary election which was pretty devastating,” said Shara. “They told my neighbors that I was a criminal or had pending criminal charges. Another set of neighbors had told me that I was harboring a fugitive.

“They cost me an election and they also defamed my name.”

Shara has filed suit against the city, Police Chief Tom Vaughn and another officer, claiming her constitutional rights were violated in the pursuit of political means.

The lawsuit indicates Vaughn’s wife was the Southport Deputy Clerk and worked for Hostetler’s opponent in the election.

Hostetler lost the election by a 139-104 vote margin.

Ironically, she was later named to fill a vacant seat on the city council and now serves as president.

“Their probable cause was based on false information. They claimed to have an anonymous tip my attorney and I know that doesn’t exist,” said Hostetler. “They took my firearm and they tried to get me to lie to say it belonged to somebody else.”

In the lawsuit, Hostetler contends that an officer threatened to remove her children from her house unless she claimed Marc Hostetler owned the gun.

“It’s not just a personal issue for me,” said Shara. “It’s an issue for everybody who lives in this city. If they’re gonna do this to me, what are they gonna do to everybody else? What else are they capable of doing?”

Attempts to reach Mayor Russell McClure and Chief Vaughn for comment on the lawsuit were unsuccessful.

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