Heated Exchanges At Meeting Over Disputed Traffic Stop

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 17, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Lively banter occurred Monday in an Allen County Ethics Commission meeting, as two members squabbled over how to handle a probe into a questionable traffic stop involving two elected officials.

Sheriff Ken Fries and county council member Paul Moss would love to see the matter get resolved, but it’s not going away for awhile.

The ethics commission now wants to ask questions of the police officers who pulled Moss over back in June on suspicion of drunk driving.

Moss placed a call to Sheriff Fries, a personal friend, during the traffic stop, saying he wanted to know if the sheriff could get things moving faster.

Eventually, Moss was sent home without having his blood alcohol level tested, prompting a private citizen to file a conflict of interest complaint with the commission.

Retired Judge Tom Ryan, one of the members, adamantly believes the panel should drop its investigation, but the other two members did not share his feelings.

" I want to know what the position is, are you going to place the Sheriff and Mr. Moss under oath and conduct an inquisition with respect to their duties?" said Judge Ryan.

" I don't recall the word inquisition in any of the comments," said lawyer Tom Hardin, who is also on the panel.

" Well, what else would it be?" said Ryan.

" It would be a public hearing, Tom," Hardin replied.

“ Sheriff Fries is facing scrutiny that he truly does not deserve,” said Tim Pape, the lawyer for Paul Moss.

“ There was no favor asked for, nor any given that evening, and that part is very unfortunate, but in terms of the commission’s work, they have to do their work diligently.”

The commission, over the objections of Judge Ryan, decided it would ask Sheriff Fries if he believes review of his conduct falls under the jurisdiction of the county ethics commission.

The officers involved in the traffic stop will have until October 9th to respond to specific questions from the commission as well.

The next public hearing on the issue is set for October 29th.

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