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Taxpayer money spent really well…SMH.

A homeless man had to pay $500 in bail or spend the night in jail this past Sunday. He chose the latter…and all of this was over his arrest for charging his cell using an outlet at a public picnic shelter.

According to The Herald Tribune:

Darren Kersey, 28, was charged with theft of utilities after Sarasota Police Sgt. Anthony Frangioni spotted him charging his phone at about 9:20 p.m. Sunday. Unable to come up with the $500 bail for the misdemeanor, Kersey had no choice but to stay in jail.

In his arrest report, Frangioni wrote that he told Kersey that the “theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy.” Frangioni also told Kersey that he should charge his phone at local shelters, according to the report.

But Monday morning Circuit Judge Charles Williams threw the case out, saying Frangioni lacked the legal justification to make the arrest.

Frangioni, a 14-year veteran of the Sarasota Police Department, did not return calls or emails seeking comment for this story. Neither did City Manager Thomas Barwin.

Police spokesman Capt. Paul Sutton said Chief Mikel Hollaway, who was off Monday, will be reviewing the case today. Following the review the department is expected to issue a statement, Sutton said.

The arrest threatens to add to a rolling battle between Sarasota and the American Civil Liberties Union, which have clashed over various homeless issues.

Glad the Judge was smart enough to toss this bull out.

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