ISP concludes review of Warsaw Police Dept. after abuse allegations emerge

WARSAW, Ind. (WNDU) -- Allegations are coming to light weeks after the Warsaw police chief is accused of a road rage incident in which he allegedly abused an elderly man he thought was driving impaired.

Last Friday, Mayor Joe Thallemer said he turned over the information the city had to the Indiana State Police for further review. He told NewsCenter 16 he learned of anonymous accusations about the reported incident the previous day, Thursday.

"It made all the sense to call the state police in," Thallemer said by telephone Wednesday.

According to the report made by Chief Scott Whitaker, the incident happened Jan. 25 at roughly 6:30 p.m., when he was off-duty.
The chief says a Honda Accord almost hit him head-on on 200 South, by Fire Station 3, in Warsaw.

He followed the car, calling Central Dispatch to report an impaired driver, noticing the Honda almost hit two more cars on 200 South.

Ultimately, Whitaker reports the car in question pulled into a driveway on Chickadee Lane in Warsaw. The chief said he parked and watched someone leave the car and what appeared to be another person leave the house.

In the report, the chief said he was concerned and went up to the person he assumed was driving impaired, grasped him from behind by his coat on both shoulders and tried to move him by the hood of the Honda.

Whitaker says he helped the man, 74-year-old Michael Brander, to the ground after the man's legs gave out and he dropped to his knees.

The chief says he identified himself as a Warsaw police officer and said on-duty police would be there soon.

The chief writes the other person, the man's wife, says she was the person driving the car in question, with the couple later explaining Mr. Brander was going to park the car in the garage, as his wife had trouble doing so.

An anonymous source sent NewsCenter 16 information alleging the police chief had road rage, had called Michael Brander a "liar" and threw Brander to the ground.

In the end, the chief says he didn't issue any citations and told Mrs. Brander not to drive at night anymore, since she could hurt someone.

Indiana State Police told NewsCenter 16 after reviewing the alleged incident with the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office that it was determined no criminal incident occurred, which concludes the involvement of the ISP.

Mr. Brander declined to speak about the incident or confirm what happened to avoid the spotlight.

The Warsaw police department also declined interviews at this time.

For more information, read the attached report made by Chief Whitaker.



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