Fairhaven Planning Board Member Charged With Assaulting Handicapped Man

FAIRHAVEN (CBS) – A member of Fairhaven’s Planning Board is facing charges for allegedly posing as a police officer and roughing up a handicapped driver.

Fairhaven Police say the victim was trying to park at the Seaport Inn and Marina, but was having trouble, he says because Joseph Morra’s vehicle was taking up two handicapped spots.

According to police, the victim got out to take cell phone pictures of Morra’s car, which did not have a handicapped license plate or placard. That’s when Morra came out, allegedly displayed a badge, and ordered him off the property.

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports

The victim accuses Morra of cursing him out, poking him in the chest and sternum several times, and shoving him, nearly knocking him to the ground.

“The victim was not injured. However, he was very shaken up and very upset because he did believe for a period of time that he had been assaulted by a police officer because of the fact that Mr. Morra displayed a badge allegedly,” Fairhaven police Sgt. Kevin Kobza told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin reports

Police say the man tried to take Morra’s picture with his cell phone. Morra reportedly slapped the phone from his hand, causing it to shatter on the pavement.

The victim, who police say requires a cane to walk, was able to call 911. According to officers who responded, while they were speaking with the victim, Morra came out of the Seaport and yelled at them to get the man off the property, using a barrage of profanity and derogatory remarks.

Morra was later arrested and charged with assault and battery on a disabled person, intimidation of a witness, impersonating a police officer and malicious destruction of property.

Aside from being on Fairhaven’s Planning Board, Morra also serves as a constable appointed by the New Bedford City Council, but police say he is not nor has he ever been a police officer.

  • Brian

    He should be kicked off the planning board, lose his constable appointment AND serve a day in jail. Anyone who abuses power or would pick on a handicapped man is a complete jerk.

    • brokenarrowstuff

      Not enough — make this POS stand on a busy street corner with a sign around his neck that reads “I’m a jerk, and I abused a handicapped person”.

      • Brian

        Right on, Brokenarrowstuff! Love this idea!

        Creative sentencing can be the best solution to court cost and overcrowding jails. Make him pick up litter in the lot and the whole street wearing the sign. He thinks he’s so special and above giving back…make him contribute…at least physically.

    • Antonella

      I think he should be kicked out also,he is a self center jerk anywway

  • Thomas Hood

    A day? How about a year for A&B on a disabled person and 6 months for impersonation and probation for 5 years on the intimidation charge. If I was the prosecuting atty, I’d nail this arrogant pr1ck.

    • Brian

      There’s no room in jails….How about a fine, a sign, and community time…(it rhymes!)… wearing “I assaulted a descent handicapped man” while he cleans?

  • jak

    Shackle the creep and drop him off along the road and make him pick up trash!

  • Lori

    As much as I would LOVE to see ANYONE serve time for abusing a handicapped person I have to agree with Brian; There is no room in the jails. I think wearing the sign while cleaning up trash on the busiest & dirtiest street every saturday for the 4 busiest hours of the day… for say 4 months would be the PERFECT solution. Probation wouldn’t be a bad idea either. He DEFINATELY should lose his ability to be a constable and on the planning board.

  • sparknut

    This was a violent crime. There should be some jail time, even if it’s only 30 days.

    • Lori

      Yes, it was a violent crime in so much as there was pushing where the victim almost fell. It was definately wrong. But what I mean is that there are SO many people in jail that we need to choose our battles so to speak. Yes it was a violent crime but far less so then a stabbing or shooting or something far more heinous then that.

  • sparknut

    What is this idiot’s connection to the Seaport Inn and Marina? If he’s an owner, perhaps some action should be taken against this business.

  • billsnoy
  • thor's hammer

    what a sad excuse for oxygen consumption on the planet. fire him from all municipal positions, withhold any pension. let’s bring back stocks & pillory on the town green. 30 days in stocks with a sign saying i am an idiot, and somewhere my village is not missing me. then let’s drop him in the wilds of alaska and let him find his way back to civilization. that is of course, if civilization is willing to take him back. i vote no. i hope there are other creative punishments contributed by viewers. justice for the victim!

  • Celeste the Best

    The best part of the story on WBZ TV, was as the reporters were following Morra out of the courthouse peppering him with questions they followed him to his car. “Sir, any reason you’re parked in the Juror’s Only parking places?”. My jaw hit the floor. What a bafoon and bully this man is. One year in jail, loss of planning board seat, revocation of his constable’s badge and rights and a public apology to the handicapped gentleman he asaulted. Shame on him!

  • Antonella

    Parking in Juror’s place,means towing P.D. not doing their job at all,they scared of him too???

  • emom

    I hate it when someone is parked illegally in a handicap spot,,, You do not have a placard sign you can not park there… Oh but there are many that park there and use someone elses placard sign.. can tell you how many times I have seen that….Yes there is a fine but it is hardly enforced.. Next the yellow cross lines between the parking spaces,,,, HELLO they are not a legal parking spot… Its for wheelchair an drop gate accesible….. Next those drop gate van parking spots,,,, HEY CANT YOU READ THE SIGN>>>>> no cars pull in as if its a regular spot…. there is usually at least 3 cars pulled into the side ways….. Nothing irratates me more than abusers of the handicap parking spaces…. and I have seen plenty of abuse with these spaces.. My mom is handicapped and I have a hard time finding a space thats not occupied buy some 20 year old running in to a store… realy running what dissability would you have…. I honestly do not understand the concept of covering the photo on the placard sign…. If you have nothing to hide then show it… Otherwise please stay out of these places, for those that truely need them…..

  • Dave_D

    Clearly Mr. Morra is very much in the wrong and deserves whatever he gets.

    …But, I have some problems with the “victim” in this matter. Since when is walking with a cane a handicap?? These handicap placards, while originally a good idea, are being abused horribly. I would think that the handicap spots should be reserved for amputees, people who require wheelchairs, people with walkers, etc.. But someone who walks with a cane? At work, we even have a woman who has a placard because she is obese. Whats up with that? I’d say the longer walk would do her some good.

  • Annomous

    I love how people always run to the defense of someone with hearing full details… I have heard through rumors that the “victim” in the case was not touch at all and mr. morra has proof on video. Also the the “victim” was arrested on a false police report. We will see who is telling the truth….

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