PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — “What’s your name?” asked the Miami County deputy sheriff.

“Michael,” responded the man, adding quickly: “I’m running for Congress in Rhode Island.”

Those were some of the first words uttered by Democratic congressional candidate Michael Neary when he stepped out of his car at about 2:45 a.m. on March 23 in Troy, Ohio. Miami County deputy sheriffs had stopped him after a couple called police to report a stranger had followed them in his car for about 60 miles from the airport in Columbus.

“I was just out here driving,” Neary explained to police, as he placed his hands against his car after agreeing to a body search. He appeared confused by many of the questions being asked of him, but he insisted that he didn’t mean to scare anybody and had just “got lost” in the music he had on in his car.

“What kind of work do you do?” asked one of the deputies.

“I’m running for the seat,” Neary repeated, explaining he’d spent a lot of time recently talking with police officers because of his run.

“My congressman — he’s retiring — Jim Langevin,” he added. “And Jack Reed, he’s the senator of the Armed Services Committee — chairman.”

Neary was later arrested and charged with stalking, along with possession of marijuana, which is illegal in Ohio. His arrest, first reported by Target 12, happened shortly after he’d traveled to Ohio from Rhode Island. Neary grew up in Rhode Island, but had been living in Ohio where he’d worked for former Republican Gov. John Kasich.

The body camera video, first reported by The Boston Globe, showed the man and woman who accused Neary of following their car were visibly distraught from the experience. They met with police at the sheriff’s office, saying Neary trailed them for miles, following them at every turn. Wary of Neary’s behavior, the couple said they pulled over in a town where they didn’t live to see if he’d pass by.

He stopped behind them, they said, and wouldn’t budge until they started moving again. Finally, outside of Miami County, one of them claimed they tried to talk with him.

“I slowed down to see if he would go around me, and he slowed down too, so I put my window down and said ‘What do you want?'” the man said. “He had music playing in his car and I heard him say something, but he was kind of like mumbled. I don’t know what he wanted or who he was or anything.”

A police report reviewed by Target 12 showed Neary admitted to smoking marijuana, and deputies found a half-empty bottle of whiskey in his back seat.

At the time of his arrest, Neary had recently announced plans to return to Rhode Island to run in the 2nd Congressional District, where a crowded field of Democrats are seeking to replace retiring incumbent Jim Langevin. Neary was arraigned on March 23 and pleaded not guilty. His next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 2.

Despite the criminal charges, Neary has said he’s staying in the race.

“I know there are many questions surrounding recent news reports, and a full statement will be forthcoming in the coming days,” Neary said earlier this month. “I am currently seeking medical and mental health treatment and have been referred to a Neurologist for the possible non-Epileptic seizure-related condition.”

The body-cam video shows Neary appearing to be contrite about scaring the couple in the other car.

“I didn’t mean to spook anybody,” he told the deputies, adding at one point, “I apologize.”

Neary is one of seven Democrats seeking the 2nd District seat. The others are Omar Bah, Joy Fox, Seth Magaziner, Cameron Moquin, Sarah Morgenthau and David Segal.

Eli Sherman ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.