A Palm Beach County Sheriff's lieutenant has been charged with misconduct after investigators allege he "fixed" a handful of traffic citations issued to the daughter of a public official in Belle Glade.
The arrest report charges that Lt. Michael Morris attempted to pull the originals out of the system and then void the tickets for lack of the originals - an effort that they say he did at the behest of the girl's mother and one that he then lied to cover up.
Morris could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.
The problems date back to a Friday night in early November, when Deputy Samnang Ith pulled over 24-year-old Jamie Evans and gave her five traffic tickets. The nature of the tickets isn't detailed in the arrest report and were not immediately available.
Ith said driver Evans protested, telling him her brother James Evans is a Sheriff's homicide detective. Even before Ith could ask her to sign the tickets, the young woman was on the phone with her brother, complaining that Ith was rude, according to Det. Evans who said he advised his sister to file a formal complaint.
When Ith went to turn in the tickets at the end of the shift, investigators say Ith was told to dismiss them. Investigators say that the message to dismiss came from Lt. Morris via a sergeant on duty.
Ith said the sergeant advised dismissing the tickets because Jamie Evans has filed a complaint about his conduct and alleged that he had used a racial slur in addressing her.
Investigators say the driver's mother, Mary Evans, a 65-year-old woman in charge of public relations for Belle Glade, knows Lt. Morris and called him on his cellphone 30 minutes after the traffic stop.
Morris' arrest report goes on to detail the efforts he went to to pull the originals and then void the tickets for lack of them, and how those efforts were thwarted by a clerk who made her own copies when she became suspicious of the request.
The report also documents several other phone conversations between Morris and Mary Evans, a woman that Ith described as a friend to Morris. Morris said instead that he knew Evans, but they disliked each other.
Morris also told investigators that while he pulled the original citations, he returned them to the clerk's desk and can't account for their loss.
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