SARASOTA (WWSB) - Police make an arrest in an attack by five teenagers on an off duty police officer. It happened Thursday at Payne Park in Downtown Sarasota. Jason Yoder was surprised to hear that five teens hit a homeless man, then beat up an off-duty police officer who stopped to help. He said, “It is concerning that we have to talk about this incident and I’m sorry that we have to talk about it.”
It happened right across the street from the Sarasota Police station. The officer was jogging when he noticed the homeless man being harassed. When he intervened, he was pushed and beaten. one of the teens has been arrested according to Sarasota Police.
The 16-year old male has been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. For another frequent visitor, Michael Patterson, he says these teens need to learn a lesson about respect. “It’s a beautiful park and it shouldn’t keep anybody else from going to the park. The police just have to step up their enforcement and it was wrong judgement on the guys that attacked the police officer and picked on the homeless guy."
Sarasota police says there’s a chance there may be extra patrols there in the future, but Patterson is looking for the community to step up now, so it doesn’t happen again.
“We’re not going to stand for it in Sarasota County and i don’t think anyone else should stand for it. Be strict on these 5 guys that did it.”
Police say the officer and the original victim are doing well and the investigation is still ongoing. Police are still looking for the four other individuals involved in this crime.