Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Should Cops Spend a Night in Jail, Too?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Should Cops Spend a Night in Jail, Too?

Article excerpt

Two years ago, the city's claim that the Sarasota Police were out to help homeless people, not harass them needlessly, was exposed as baloney with just one ridiculously unjustified arrest.

Sgt. Anthony Frangioni infamously handcuffed a young homeless man and took him to jail after discovering an alleged crime in progress at Sarasota's Gillespie Park, at a picnic pavilion that had become a homeless hangout.

Hanging out there during the day was legal even if neighbors didn't want the loiterers there, Frangioni knew. But he decided Darren Kersey had committed theft of city property right in front of him.

Kersey, you might recall, was using a power outlet there to charge his cell phone. I calculated the electricity's cost to the city at less than a tenth of a penny. Even that wasn't stolen, as the outlets were made available to park users and no sign indicated anything to the contrary.

The absurd charge was soon dropped, but the arrestee, who spent a night in jail, later filed a lawsuit that is still pending.

No matter what happens with that suit, it now looks as if Frangioni is costing the city far more than the cost of that phone charge, because he is collecting his salary while not working.

That's no crime, either. Frangioni is on paid leave.

But the reason is an investigation, apparently based on an assault allegation.

"At this time, there is an active criminal and internal investigation regarding Sgt. Anthony Frangioni," a police spokeswoman said in an email. "Sgt. Frangioni is currently on administrative leave with pay."

The police department would not give any details except to say Frangioni's paid leave started on Aug. 8.

But his estranged wife, a financial management adviser who filed for divorce early this year, confirmed that she was interviewed as part of the investigation. Sarah Frangioni says it involves, in part, an alleged attack on one of several of her financial clients while they were lunching with her at a restaurant. …

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