A police officer with the Fort Pierce Police Department has been disciplined after body cam footage revealed that he tolerated two suspects in the back of his car engaging in mutual fondling while driving them to a jail. Romantic music played as they drove along.
Zachery Moellendick and Krista Leigh, residents of Melbourne, Florida, were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in July. While riding in the back of Doug McNeal's vehicle, songs like Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” and “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars played while the couple kissed vigorously, according to The Washington Post.
McNeal's body cam footage of the arrest led to a 20-day suspension for the officer who was found to have violated multiple police policies by allowing the canoodling.
“I think they’re making babies back there," a passing officer can be heard saying in the video.
Along with allowing the kissing, the couple were permitted to smoke a cigarette before entering the cop car and again inside the car. Moellendick, additionally, was never cuffed, according to WPTV, a West Palm Beach, Florida-based NBC affiliate.
According to an internal affairs report obtained by The Washington Post, they concluded that not only had McNeal not followed protocol pertaining to his body cam, but that McNeal had also neglected duty and violated policies related to authorized restraint, special transport situations, detainee transport operations, and use of tobacco products.
Chief Diane Hobley-Burney summarized the findings of the report.
“The Department completed a thorough review of this incident and the findings of the investigation sustained allegations against Officer McNeal and identified deficiencies in the performance of his duties,” said Hobley-Burney. “Officer McNeal has accepted full responsibility for his actions and understands the seriousness of the policy violations. The conduct of this officer does not represent the values of this Department or the dedicated men and women who serve our community with honor every day.”
McNeal has been employed with the Fort Pierce Police Department since 2014. His suspension went into effect on February 14, reports WPTV.
Moellendick has pleaded guilty to petty theft and trespassing and was released from the St. Lucie County Jail on February 21, according to local outlet TCPalm. Leigh had pleaded no contest to petty theft on February 14 and was sentenced to time served.
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