Dane Morgan Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Local activist, community organizer and political candidate Dane Morgan has been charged with domestic assault.  

Morgan, 31, was arrested by Lewiston police last week, accused of slapping his estranged girlfriend in the face and slamming her arm in a car door during a dispute over a child safety seat. 

Morgan denies the charge. 

According to protection from abuse documents, the assault was witnessed by Morgan’s 5-year-old son, the ex-girlfriend’s grandmother and several neighbors. 

It happened Friday, Aug. 6, according to a court document, outside the home of Morgan’s ex-girlfriend on Riverside Street. Morgan was arrested a short distance from the home after police were called about 9 a.m. 

According to the court document, Morgan had gone to the home to pick up his 5-year-old son as part of a visitation system worked out with his ex-girlfriend. 

In her report, the ex-girlfriend, also 31, said Morgan was pulling out of the driveway with their son when she noticed that the child was sitting on Dane’s lap with his hands on the steering wheel.  

According to the report, the child’s mother screamed for Morgan to stop, which he did. The child got out of the car and his mother offered to drive the boy to Morgan’s house with the child in a proper safety seat. 

“At this point, he began pushing me, yelling, ‘mess with me,'” the child’s mother wrote in her application for a protection order, “and then slapped me on the left side of my face. He then began slamming my right arm between the car door and the door frame, and put the car in drive.” 

In a phone interview Friday, Morgan adamantly denied the allegation. There was indeed an argument, he said, “but I did not put my hands on her. Anybody who knows me, they also know that’s not my character whatsoever. … They know what I stand for when it comes to things like violence, and violence around women in particular. That’s always been denounced across the board.” 

Morgan, in the phone interview, admitted that he was going to let his son steer the car, but only when they were safely off busy roads. 

While Morgan and his ex-girlfriend argued in the street, the alleged victim’s grandmother called police, according to the report. At that point, Morgan grabbed his son and took off on foot, the report states. The child’s mother said she could still hear her son screaming, “Mama!” as the pair ran down the street.

On Friday, Morgan disputed that, as well. He said he took his son and stepped away from the scene only to remove himself from the volatile situation. He wasn’t, he said, attempting to flee. 

Police arrived moments later and found Morgan sitting on a curb. He was ultimately arrested on a charge of domestic assault and on an outstanding warrant charging him with failing to appear in court on an earlier charge from Cumberland County of driving with a suspended license. 

Morgan’s license has since been reinstated, although he still faces the charge of failing to show up at a hearing. 

Morgan was booked at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn and released on bail the same day. 

His ex-girlfriend filed an affidavit documenting the alleged abuse in seeking a protection order from a judge. The protection order was granted earlier in the week, she said. The couple’s son was returned to her custody the night of the incident. 

Morgan has been a popular and vocal activist in the area over the past couple years. A real estate agent and disc jockey, in 2020, he organized some of the Black Lives Matter rallies in Lewiston-Auburn. He has also been an active participant in talks on police reform and on matters of equity and diversity. 

Earlier this week, Morgan announced in a Facebook post that he had taken out paperwork to run for the Lewiston City Council Ward 1 seat. 

“Our great city has seen growth over the past 10 years that I’ve been blessed to call it home — and yet there is undoubtedly more we can do,” he wrote in the post. “The next few years are pivotal years. As politics grows more and more divisive, we need advocates willing to work across the aisle for the betterment of Lewiston.” 

In her protection order affidavit, Morgan’s ex-girlfriend wrote that she fears for her safety and believes Morgan cannot keep their son safe and well cared for. 

In response to that, Morgan said he always tries to be a good role model for his son, knowing that young boys tend to emulate their fathers. 

“So, I’d rather be on the side of being compassionate,” Morgan said, “and have him grow up to be a great young man on the basis of that.” 

Morgan is scheduled to be arraigned on the domestic assault charge Sept. 8. 

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