Homeless Man, Darren Kersey, Arrested & Jailed for Charging Cell Phone at Public Park

By: Associated Press
Posted: 11/13/2012

SARASOTA, Florida – A homeless man spent the night in a Sarasota County jail after a police officer accused him of stealing by charging his cell phone at a public park.

An arrest report says that a Sarasota police sergeant spotted 28-year-old Darren Kersey charging his phone Sunday evening in a public picnic shelter at Gillespie Park.

The sergeant told Kersey that the “theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy” and then arrested him on a misdemeanor charge of theft of utilities.

Unable to pay the $500 bond, Kersey spent the night in jail. But the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Kersey was released Monday morning after a judge threw the case out, saying the sergeant lacked the legal justification to make the arrest.

Theft of utilities? Oh, right, the utilities that have been paid for by taxes theft from those in the community – which almost certainly includes the man who was charging his phone.

  • john

    this dumbass cop needs a boot in his ass

  • Hey

    lol another idiot batman with no common sense on the loose to prey on citizens in Fla.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    Oh boy! Ok, lets get the common sense bingo pool going. So, common sense (or any of the other pig scrotum licking trolls here) will assert that cell phones are a great threat to police safety yadda yadda yadda and that the massive amounts of electricity wasted charging cell phones will bankrupt entire cities, states, nations, and even galaxies.

  • Wordsworth

    Hmm…it would seem that the apologists will not be making an appearance on this one. Or maybe they will, and try to justify the arrest with the usual “there’s more to the story than what’s being told.” Seems to be a reliable standby for them.

  • Greg

    How can a accessible electrical wall outlet at a public park and use by a citizen be considered theft? What ever happened to writing a ticket and having a court date if this is against the law? Does everyone go to a jail cell now? Non-violent misdemeanor crime should mean no initial jail time and extra cost to house a person to the taxpayer during this “bad economy”.

  • John Q Public

    Wow, that’s just stupid. If they didn’t want anyone using electricity, there wouldn’t be an outlet in a public place. Did charging a phone really use that much electicity compared to the amount used by the lights that are probably in the park? Not a good move at all by the cop.

  • Carlos

    Oh dear !

    And…cops still wonder why some people hate them with a passion.

  • Ed

    that cop was obviously bored and just wanted to trample on the rights of someone cause he had nothing else to do, and they say that cops don’t go around looking to violate peoples civil rights.

  • http://yahoo larry

    What an ass hole. Make the guy stop and then make him leave. That is all you have to do. Idiot.

  • http://www.copblock.org Anonymous Citizen


    Better yet…

    Don’t harass a citizen for utilizing the electrical outlet in the park build and paid for by his tax money, especially while you are wearing clothes, driving a car, and brandishing a weapon that same public dollar bought you. Maybe the cop should be arrested for driving around wasting fuel in the bad economy.

  • http://facebook Jim

    This must not be the same Cop that gave the shoes to the homeless guy?

    What an A-Hole


    1. Cop was an idiot.

    2. Electricity cost money, and I’m pretty sure if your neighbor decided to come over to your house and run an extension cord to his house to run a portable heater…you would object.

  • Steve H.

    What this article doesn’t tell you is that later in the day that the judge released the man, the city manager instructed park staff to go to the park and turn off the electricity. Which they did, but by that time the ACLU was there and another 5 or 6 newscrews, so they only cut the electric off for about an hour and everyone in the city pointed fingers at each other and said it wasn’t their fault.

    There is serious talk now of shutting down the Sarasota police dept and turning law enforcement over to the sheriff in the city of Sarasota. They have been waging a losing war on the homeless for some time now.

  • Steve H.

    Just a week after this happened the local ACLU published public records from SPD texting on the in, car computers, the leos can talk to each other by instant message which they stupidly don’t know that this is public record. A really long discussion went on about how they were going out one night to do “some Bum hunting” and they were discussing how to fight with the bums.

    Yesterday, a video clip from the bus terminal was released with an SPD officer slamming a homeless guy into a metal barrier causing him to go to the hospital for several stitches. Doesn’t seem to stop and the leos don’t really seem to care.

  • Steve H.

    Just another anecdote, the ACLU researched that the SPD gave out over 2000 tresspass warnings in the city of Sarasota on public sidewalks in 2011. Mostly the homeless people who stay near the library or a place called five points park. Circuit court gave the city an injunction after a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU about trespass warnings on public sidewalks. City mgr said that they were going back to the drawing board to write an “ironclad trespass statute.” Haven’t seen it yet, though.

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