Georgetown, KY – A Georgetown city councilman was caught on camera complaining that a police officer who was paralyzed in the line of duty had already been given a million dollars and a vehicle despite the fact the wounded wheelchair-bound officer has been given nothing by the city.
Scott County Deputy Jaime Morales was shot in the back by former Georgetown Police Officer Joseph Enricco during a Special Response Team (SRT) apprehension of a fugitive in at a rest stop on Interstate 75 on Sept. 11, 2018, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
At first, authorities believed Deputy Morales had been shot by the suspect, but investigators later determined that the shooting had been friendly fire.
The deputy was left 90 percent paraplegic as a result of his gunshot wound.
Attorneys for Deputy Morales filed a lawsuit against the city of Georgetown, the Georgetown Police Department, the mayor, each of the city council members, a Georgetown police lieutenant, and former Officer Enricco, who has since resigned from the police force, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The lawsuit alleges that the members of the SRT who were called to help a U.S. deputy marshal arrest a fugitive had not been properly trained which resulted in his line of duty paralysis.
Georgetown City Councilman Marvin Thompson was discussing Deputy Morales’ lawsuit with City Councilwoman Polly Singer-Eardley during a lull in business at a city council meeting and his remarks were picked up by a “hot mic.”
The meeting was being broadcasted live on public access television.
Video of the incident showed Thompson leaning over to Singer-Eardley to make his snarky remark about the paralyzed deputy’s lawsuit.
“I mean, we’ve already gave him a million dollars, a new home, a new car, a . . . lot,” Thompson told Singer-Eardley.
But attorneys for Deputy Morales said that wasn’t true and that the wounded deputy hasn’t received a cent from his police department or the city, WKYT reported.
Attorney Tom W. Miller said that the only assistance Deputy Morales has received has come from the community and released a statement expressing his outrage at Thompson’s remarks.
“It is astonishing that a Georgetown City official is spreading lies about a deputy sheriff who went into harm’s way without considering his own safety to help prevent an armed and dangerous bank-robber from getting into the community,” Miller wrote. “Jamie [Morales] has never received one dollar from Georgetown or any other public entity. In fact, Georgetown refused to make any offer to settle Jamie's claim when given the opportunity to do so, forcing us to file suit.”
“Jamie is living in a simple apartment which lacks the needed [set up] for someone in a chair. No house has been built and given to him,” the attorney continued.
“The worst of the misstatements is blaming Jamie's injuries on him,” he said. “He was shot in the back by a Georgetown City policeman who was improperly trained and lacked adequate supervision. It is abundantly clear the councilman has not read the complaint or expert reports attached which properly assign blame, and it is not Jamie who was at fault.”
Miller said that Deputy Morales purchased a vehicle equipped for his wheelchair with $30,000 of his own money and help from some members of the community, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“Morales is making car payments using his own funds,” the statement said. “We were extremely disappointed that Mr. Thompson appears to believe that Morales is to blame for his own catastrophic injuries that he has to live with every moment of his life.”
Thompson defended his remarks to the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday afternoon and said that he was saying “the community and them has done all this,” not the city.
Another attorney for Deputy Morales, Elliott Miller, said he was still “disturbed” by Thompson’s “grossly inaccurate comments.”
“The only money Morales has received is from the extremely generous donations made by the people in the community,” which the attorney said “do not even equal a quarter of the million dollars Mr. Thompson claims the city, or others, have paid.”