Woman accuses now-former FWPD Officer of exposing himself and making crude comments

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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A Fort Wayne police officer is accused of exposing himself to a woman he was supposed to help.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A Fort Wayne woman says a now-former police officer exposed himself as he was on duty after her initial call for help.

Marissa Branning says she called police in the early morning hours of June 5th to report someone violating a protective order. She says one of the responding officers, Erik Melia helped with the call and initially expressed concern for her well-being. “After the whole incident there, he came to my vehicle, he grabbed my hand,” she says. “I was emotional at the time. I didn’t think anything of it because I’m thinking that he’s just trying to be nice because you know he’s an officer, he’s there to help.”

Branning says Melia told him to follow her to a parking lot where he could finish writing his paperwork on the incident, and she could calm down. She says they eventually wound up at a location near some railroad tracks. That’s when she says they both got out of their cars.

Home Video Provided
Home Video Provided(Home Video Provided)

" I see him standing there with his penis in his hand and he’s holding himself and has a cigarette in his mouth, and he’s staring at me,” she says. She says she walked away and then he told her to come back. “I’m thinking he’s telling me to come back, and it’s not away. It’s not away. He still has it out, and during that moment he’s telling me, ‘Don’t act like you’re afraid to touch it.’ And at that moment I’m thinking in my head, ‘What do I do? I’m with a police officer. I can’t call the police. I can’t scream for help. I can’t attack him.’”

Branning says she eventually got into her car, Melia got into his and they both left the area. She says she called the police.

“Within five minutes he’s coming back to my house, he comes up to my house, walking up to my driveway. I have video of him walking up to my driveway,” she says.

According to a police incident report, a Fort Wayne Police Department sergeant made the scene. In the report, he writes that Melia told him a “female saw him urinate.” The sergeant’s report goes on to say, “At that time, Officer Melia told me that he made a tasteless comment along the lines of ‘Don’t act like you’re afraid to touch it.’ (paraphrased.)”

In the report, the sergeant says he then told Melia to write two reports, one about the initial incident and one about what occurred after the incident.

“As far as my case goes, I want him to go to jail,” Branning says. “I don’t feel like he should be treated any different from anybody else in Fort Wayne or anywhere.”

The Fort Wayne Police Department declined to provide an interview or comment for this story. The Allen County Prosecutor’s Office tells us charges are “in process” but have not yet been filed.

Our Digging Deeper has learned Melia resigned from the Fort Wayne Police Department. We’ve also learned Melia was charged with Public Indecency after an incident on July 14th. In that incident, a woman says the former officer asked her to smoke with him in an alley, and that when she opened his car door she observed: “his shorts unzipped and his genitalia outside of his pants, in plain view of anyone passing by.”

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