FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A Fort Wayne police officer with a history of disciplinary problems will keep his job.
Indiana’s NewsCenter spoke exclusively with Police Chief Rusty York and one of the men who made the decision to keep Morales on the job.
In the most recent incident, 19-year veteran officer Scott Morales is accused of choking a suspect and slamming his head multiple times in a hospital.
According to Morales’ Fact Finding Report, on February 13 Morales transported a suspect from a nightclub to the Allen County Confinement Facility. But, the suspect had a medical condition and was taken to a local hospital. Once at the hospital the report states Morales walked the prisoner into the hospital, “banged the prisoners’ head into the door” and put his hands around the suspect’s neck, “causing the prisoner to gasp and choke and make gurgling sounds as if suffocating”. After placing the prisoner on a gurney, Morales “lifted the prisoners head and slammed it down”. He then told the prisoner he was his expletive and in “his home”, according to the report.
Because of this allegation and multiple others like it York recommended Morales be fired. But Monday night, a small group of citizens, who make up the Board of Public Safety, voted to keep Morales on the job and give him 90-days unpaid suspension.
“This can't continue, this is serious and in this person's opinion we needed to consider termination,” York said. Reporter: “But it wasn't upheld. Your opinion wasn't...” York: “And like I said I accept that.”
“It was in our interest and in the interest of the public to make sure Officer Morales wasn't in a position to engage the public in the same way he had before,” Board of Public Safety member Quinton Dixie said. “And so with that being the bare minimum then we did get an outcome that we think protects the public.”
Sharon Peters, Steven Boerger, Frank Casagrande joined Dixie in their vote to keep Morales. Jim Underwood was absent and did not vote.
Morales has received 14 other suspensions in his career and Dixie says the board looked at those incidents.
“We are permitted to review the entire disciplinary record of an officer when making a decision about discipline,” Dixie said.
“You're gonna have those that will get upset by this, but I'm just saying that possibly there is more detail, more facts related to this incident that they're aware of,” York said.
York says he is “satisfied” with Morales keeping his job.
When Morales’ returns to work in November, he will be put behind a desk as a detective. York says there is no pay increase or benefit changes for Morales even though his title has changed.
Morales could have retired at the end of this year but now must serve more time before he reaches retirement. Once he serves 20-years, he will receive his full pension.
York says Morales will be “closely supervised” and says, “Morales will not want to face the Board of Public Safety again”.
Morales tells Indiana's NewsCenter Tuesday "I don't have a comment for you" before he hung up the phone.
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