SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — Two pathologists who announced their resignations over policies in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department are calling for the separation of the sheriff’s office from the coroner’s office.
Dr. Bennit Omalu and Dr. Susan Parson say they are willing to rescind their resignations if the “independence of the coroner’s office can be guaranteed.”
Parson announced her resignation on Nov. 28 released a document with more than 50 pages supporting her allegations against Moore. It includes memos that show the manner of deaths in autopsy reports were changed and how the sheriff ordered a technician to remove a person’s hand without their knowledge.
San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore denied all of the allegations during a Nov. 29 interview with CBS13.
“I’ve not understood of where she was coming from, on several of her concerns. To my knowledge, I’ve never spoken with her about any of her cases. So, that was kind of a mystery,” said Moore.
On Tuesday, Omalu, a world-renowned forensic pathologist who famously discovered a brain disease affecting professional football players called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, announced he would be stepping down as well, while echoing Parson’s allegations.
Omalu said Moore made calculated attempts to control him as a physician. He said the sheriff started influencing his professional judgment since May 2007.
Omalu also writes the sheriff told the doctors many times “As long as they work for the sheriff, they must do anything and everything he asks, even when they consider the sheriff’s actions against their standards of practice.”
A former evidence custodian told CBS13 he left the sheriff’s office because he was tired of being held back from doing his own job.
“At first, it felt like they were trying to help me, but then eventually as I was prying deeper, they would, you know it was just more roadblocks,” Nick Germann said.
Germann spent four years helping run the evidence room. When he started to speak up and question the way certain things in the department where handled, he faced retaliation from administrators like Moore.
“He does retaliate against people. He has a famous line throughout the department. It’s common for him to say, ‘I don’t get mad, I get even,’” he said.