Broward County sheriff’s sergeant William “Sonny’ Morgan was so confident he was above the law, he didn’t hesitate attacking another man in a casino last year.
When the 24-year-old man defended himself, knocking the 47-year-old sergeant to the ground, prompting others to break up the fight, Morgan’s wife reached for her husband’s wallet and pulled out his badge – as if that would give him a free pass.
But Seminole police officers did not allow that to stop them from arresting him on a misdemeanor battery charge.
However, even after that, Morgan tried his best to use his law enforcement connections to “get him out of this mess,” according to arresting officer Jarret Romanello.
And he even tried to obtain the victim’s address so he could send a SWAT team over to “deal with him later,” according to Romanello, who works for the Seminole Police Department, which has jurisdiction in all Seminole tribal lands in South Florida, which includes the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
The incident, which took place last August, was captured on surveillance video, which was obtained by Local 10.
Despite all the evidence against him, including several witness statements, Morgan was suspended with pay, meaning he has received more than $86,000 for doing nothing. He has also been allowed to use an unmarked departmental car during this time.
According to reports, the incident began after the sergeant’s wife, Linda Morgan, approached the victim, Mitchell Maanster, possibly in an attempt to seduce him.
However, the couple later claimed that Maanster tried to seduce her before attacking the sergeant.
According to Local 10:
After the fight was broken up, Linda Morgan got her husband’s wallet and flashed his badge. According to police reports, both Morgan and his wife told police that Maanster had tried to solicit sex from her and then attacked the sergeant. But police determined that surveillance video showed it was Linda Morgan who had initially approached Maanster while he was playing slots.
“I asked Mrs. Morgan what she said to Mr. Maanster and she would not answer,” Romanello wrote in a report. “I asked Mrs. Morgan if she was hitting on Mr. Maanster and if she lied to her husband in order to explain looming near him. Mrs. Morgan put her head down, placed her hands over her face and began crying. She told she did not want to talk to me anymore and that her husband ‘protects the county’ and that I should ‘take care of him.'”
The surveillance video shows Linda Morgan approaching Maanster and pointing her finger at him. Maanster avoids her but William Morgan, initially with his hands behind his back, is seen wheeling into Maanster, allegedly striking him with his shoulder.
Maanster initially backs up and William Morgan appears to grab him by the neck, initiating a fight during which Maanster repeatedly throws the relentless sergeant to the floor. Maanster suffered a serious rug burn to the forehead during the fight that has led to permanent discoloration.
Maanster said he never solicited sex from Linda Morgan and that he still has no idea why they came after him.
“I think he should do some time in jail,” said Maanster, who added that he was particularly troubled by the report that showed William Morgan allegedly was going to have the SWAT team come after him.
Broward Police Benevolence Association President Jeff Marano said it was his understanding that Linda Morgan had been assaulted — “goosed,” as he put it — prior to the fight and that had enraged the husband. But that allegation was never even levied by either Linda or William Morgan. When asked where he heard that information, he said he believed it came from a BSO union representative.
The fascinating part of this story is not how Morgan tried to use his badge to get out of the situation or how he attempted to have a SWAT team intimidate the victim or even how the local PBA president is supporting him.
It’s how the Seminole Police Department refused to cut a fellow officer a break, which is not something we are accustomed to seeing.
But that may have to do with the fact that there appears to be a lack of respect from the other agencies towards the tribal police department, who refer to them on police websites as “security guards.”