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Fairhaven Planning Board Member Charged With Assaulting Handicapped Man

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Joseph Morra (Credit: Fairhaven police)

Joseph Morra (Credit: Fairhaven police)

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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.

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