Complaint filed against Sarasota Police Chief after comments made about homeless man

Complaint filed against Sarasota Police Chief after comments made about homeless man
Chief Bernadette DiPino was counseled about the comments and has apologized, according to city officials. (Source: Sarasota Police Youtube)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A complaint has been made to the City of Sarasota regarding alleged comments made by Chief Bernadette DiPino about a homeless man at an event.

Sarasota Police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge acknowledged that Chief DiPino was aware of the complaint but directed further questions to the Sarasota Interim City Manager.

“Chief DiPino was made aware of the complaint last Monday. Interim City Manager Marlon Brown counseled her in reference to the complaint.,” Judge told ABC7.

The City released information on the anonymous complaint, saying that Chief DiPino made the comments at a public event where a known individual with documented mental illnesses began mocking the officers and singers at the event.

“An anonymous complaint was received via email on December 30, 2020, about a statement made by the Chief of Police DiPino after a Sarasota Opera event that was held on November 18, 2020. During this outdoor performance, an individual rode up on a bicycle and mimicked the singers, and made a mild disturbance. The complaint (via email) stated “While walking into the building and in front of at least a half dozen officers the chief of police ask the group if she could borrow someone’s Taser, motioning to the mentally handicapped individual,” reads the document.

Brown met with Chief DiPino on January 11, 2021 and discussed the complaint and the seriousness of such actions. The Chief did admit to making such a statement and was directed to apologize to staff about this statement. Brown also counseled the Chief on the impact of her words and actions and discussed expectations moving forward.

Copyright 2021 WWSB. All rights reserved.