Fort Myers police lieutenant focus of recent lawsuits against FMPD

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers Police Department headquarters. (Credit: WINK News)
Fort Myers Police Department Headquarters. Credit: WINK News.

From federal investigations to federal lawsuits, the Fort Myers Police Department finds itself in the negative spotlight yet again. This time it involves a lieutenant who’s no stranger to accusations of discrimination.

Since 2000, four people have filed discrimination lawsuits against FMPD. A man mentioned throughout those complaints — Lt. William Musante. The city settled three of the suits, for one of them paying out $300,000.

The fourth lawsuit was filed last week by Suzette Scott-Warren, who has worked as a records clerk since 2015. She was fired in May this year, and she claims it was for her race, gender and disability.

The lawsuit also says she believes this was in retaliation to a sexual harassment complaint she made against Musante.

Community advocate Anthony Thomas has long pushed for the elimination of FMPD. He says the fact that Musante is still on the force is a disgrace.

“He has animus towards women, and he has animus toward people of color; his record shows that,” Thomas said. “How many times can you give this man, a second, third, fourth chance? How much damage does he have to do?”

Wink News reached out to the department via email, and Deputy Chief Jeffery Meyers said, “We cannot comment on pending litigation.”

Dr. Dave Thomas, who has a Ph.D. in forensic psychology and is a criminal justice professor at FGCU, offered some insight.

“This pattern, you would think that because this has happened so many times, with the same individual, that somebody needs to stop [and say] we need to investigate these so we understand what we have here,” Thomas said. “And I don’t think that’s been done.”

Wink News spoke with Scott-Warren’s lawyer on the phone Thursday afternoon. He said not only do they want justice, but also to bring attention to Musante’s past.

We asked FMPD for comment about those past lawsuits, but they have not yet responded as of this publication.

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