Former Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee Sentenced for Official Misconduct and Battery
LAWRENCE COUNTY - SEPTEMBER 13, 2022 - Former Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee pled guilty to Official misconduct by a public servant, and battery by a plea agreement in Lawrence County Superior Court I. The charge of strangulation was dismissed.
Former Bedford Police Captain Morgan Lee
Lee was sentenced by Judge John Plummer III in Lawrence County Superior Court I, on a suspended sentence of 365 day in jail with one day credit, 363 days suspended, and will remain on supervised probation and 50 hours of community service.
A special prosecutor, Chris Gaal, was assigned to the case. Lee was represented by Attorney Edward J. Merchant from the law firm of Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell who represents police officers and firefighters.
According to Indiana State Police, the incident occurred on January 8, 2021, when Lee threw a male to the ground and choked him. The male stated that officer Lee pushed him up against the ground with his throat between his hand and the floor.
The male suffered contusions on the back of his head. A video was taken of the incident. The male was not arrested following the incident.
On January 8, 2021, at 12:08 a.m. Bedford Police received a 911 call reporting a domestic dispute at 510 H Street in Bedford. Captain Morgan Lee, Sgt. Chase Hamiliton, and Officer Clay Blackburn responded to the call.
On August 4, 2021, the Indiana State Police investigator was contacted by the victim's attorney Timothy Sledd saying the incident was captured on security video outside of the victim's home. That video showed the victim wrapping his bleeding finger with paper towels. Officer Lee walked into the victim's home and stands to the right side of the kitchen countertop. Dialogue between Officer Lee and the victim is audible on the video. Lee lunges towards the victim's chest. Lee pushes the victim backwards and towards the refrigerator.
The victim can be heard saying " What are you going to do beat me in my own (expletive) house," Officer Lee then pushes the male victim's down to the kitchen floor. While on the floor with Lee on top of him, the male's victim's hands are visible out to his side. The male is heard saying " Choke me out as long as you (expletive)" Lee then gets off the male.
The Indiana State Police investigator then met with Bedford Police Department Chief Terry Moore who provided the investigator with additional information including Lee's body camera and interview with the officers involved.
The investigator reviewed the statements and camera footage.
Based on the investigation, the investigator found probable cause to arrest Lee for battery while acting in the performance of his official duties as a public servant, did knowingly or intentionally in a rude, insolent or anger manner apply pressure to the throat or neck of a male in a manner to impeded normal breathing or blood circulation.
Lee submitted his resignation to the Bedford Board of Works after the Board of Works recommended his termination.
This would make two former Bedford Police officers who signed a plea agreement this year, in criminal cases filed in Lawrence County Superior Court I.
Sgt. Jeremy Crane was arrested in April on two Level - 6 Felony charges of official misconduct by a public servant. The felony charge of official misconduct by a public official was dismissed.
Former Bedford Police Sgt. Jeremy Crane
In Crane's plea deal he pled guilty to false informing a Class B Misdemeanor. Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge Plummer accepted Crane's plea deal and sentenced Crane to 182 days in jail and suspended his sentence to six months of supervised probation.
The case was assigned to Special Prosecutor Thomas Owen for the State of Indiana.
Crane represented by Attorneys Michael Allen and Timothy Sledd.
His case was investigated by Indiana State Police Organized Crime and Corruption Unit. Crane created and submitted a written report on October 3, 2020, that included false information about the collection of methamphetamines.
After Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore became suspicious about the report, Moore requested Indiana State Police Organized Crimes Corruption Unit to investigate the incident.
Although against Bedford Police Department policy to unlock vehicles, Sgt. Crane agreed to unlock a vehicle when a woman asked Crane to unlock a vehicle after the woman claimed her boyfriend was still using meth and wanted the police to arrest him.
When unlocking the vehicle Crane and the woman located the meth. The woman did not want him arrested until later so she could move to Florida. On October 3, 2020, the woman called Bedford Police Department reporting finding the drugs. And on the same day Crane generated the report. Sgt. Crane knew the information was false and violated Bedford Police Department policy by unlocking the locked van without a search warrant.
Crane resigned from Bedford Police Department in June 2021.