FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A Fort Wayne resident has filed an ethics complaint with the Allen County Ethics Commission against Sheriff Ken Fries (R) and Allen County Councilman At-Large Paul Moss (R).
The complaint, filed by Phillip Pease, cites a conflict of interest in the events surrounding a traffic stop of Moss on Saturday, June 2 at 2:30 a.m.
The complaint says that because Moss has control over the sheriff’s department budget as a member of council, a financial conflict arose. It also says that if Moss were to suffer public ridicule for drunken driving, it would hurt his professional and political careers.
Moss was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy under suspicion that he may have been driving drunk in the area of Dupont Road and Dupont Circle Drive. The deputy phoned a City of Fort Wayne police officer who was working drunken-driving patrol to come to administer a breathalyzer. When the city officer was delayed by another stop involving a possible case of drunken driving, he asked the sheriff’s deputy to take Moss to the Bud Meeks Justice Center in downtown Fort Wayne. There, he would perform the sobriety test after completing the stop he was currently working.
According to a report filed by the Fort Wayne police officer, the only law enforcement agent to fill out a report, he was called off after a phone call between Fries and Moss at the scene of the original stop.
“I spoke with Officer Stuckey, who advised me that per Sheriff Fries, we were to disregard any further,” said the sheriff’s deputy, according to the police report.
Fries has acknowledged that he did speak to Moss on the phone that morning, but that no inappropriate action was taken. Fries denies claims he told his officer to release Moss.
Moss released his own statement in the days following the traffic stop:
"I take my roles as father and county councilman very seriously. I was providing a safe ride home for my daughter and her friends that morning. I willingly agreed to take the more reliable test at the Meeks Center. While waiting to do this, I did make a call to find out what was taking so long and if there was a way to expedite the process. I made no other requests and was granted no special treatment. I have tremendous faith in our law enforcement officers. If I had broken the law, they would have done their job."
Fries has chosen not to comment on the ethics complaint filed against him.
A spokeswoman at Moss’ place of work said that Moss is out of the state on business and would be returning either Wednesday or Thursday. She said she would pass along Indiana’s NewsCenter’s request for a statement about the ethics complaint.
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