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Homeless man charges his phone in the park and gets busted

Posted: , by Alan F.


Homeless man charges his phone in the park and gets busted
The outlet used by Kersey to charge his phone

The outlet used by Kersey to charge his phone

Darren Kersey, 28, is homeless. But last Sunday, Kersey had a home for the night-a jail in Sarasota. He wound up at that location when he was spotted by Sarasota Police Sgt. Anthony Frangioni charging his cellphone at a public picnic shelter at the city's Gillespie Park. In his report, Sgt. Frangioni, who has put in 14 years with the Sarasota Police Department wrote "theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy." He also admonished the man and told him to charge his phone at local shelters.

While it is not known what model phone Kersey has, it only takes all of 41 cents in electricity to charge an Apple iPhone for a year. It costs many times that figure to house a man in jail for a night and prosecute him. While that makes all the sense in the world, the judge threw out the case on Monday morning for a different reason saying that the office had no justification to make the arrest in the first place.

By Monday morning, there were eight homeless people in the park, including two who were charging their phones in the same location where Kersey was arrested. We guess that John Lennon had it right when he sang "Power to the People".

source: HeraldTribune via Gizmodo

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posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:07 8

1. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)

Where exactly do homeless people come from? Are they people who lost their jobs, money, house and everything they own?

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:19 10

4. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

yes they have lost everything they own, the situation in america pretty much sucks. i see people everyday without homes, i myself almost was at one point because my dad was out of a job for 2 months

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:21 4

28. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

My heart goes out to you, buddy. I've been there myself as a kid. Being involved in law enforcement on a part time basis, I must say that for an officer to make such an arrest is beyond prepostorous.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 16:06 1

42. metalpoet (unregistered)

I was homeless for three weeks before an old friend housed me for couple months

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:48 3

11. Cynipap999 (banned) (Posts: 138; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

Since it takes all of .41¢ to charge an iPhone for a whole year, my guess is they become homeless after having to pay their exorbitant iPhone bills for actual service.

In a way I don't blame the officer. Think about it, with all those people who have iPhones: if they all charged their iPhones in city parks it would completely bankrupt local municipalities.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 09:42 7

15. McLTE (Posts: 804; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

do you realize how many people would have to charge their phones to put the city out of business? You'd need thousands of outlets.. lol

How about the city put in phone charging stations like many airports have.. and say.. the Mayor skip ONE meal at his/her fancy restaurants. That alone would pay for phone charging for many many people for a long time.

You also can't really bag on people who hang onto their phones either when they become homeless. The are regular people like us who have had a string of bad luck as is often the case lately. In losing most everything, that may be their only way to keep in touch with friends and family..

The arresting officer should be ashamed for himself for making an arrest for this. perhaps a small citation.. but an arrest? That's ridiculous.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 12:19 2

25. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

It's not that simple. If you let one go you have to let them all go, you can't pick favorites if you do that kind of work, have to try to be fair with everyone. I deal with this kind of situation everyday at work, if you give special treatment to one customer, you better be ready to do them same with every single one of them, if you care about fairness at all of course, most people say they do but really do not.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 20:56

58. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

well my thing is what if this was the officer & there were no outlets around & he needed to charge his phone...would he have used a city outlet. what if it was an non-work related emergency. we all know he would have used it if he had no other option...so to make an arrest b/c it was someone else isn't really the definition of fairness. the man had no other reasonable option & he just wanted to charge his phone. just shows how cold-hearted people can be to strangers.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:30 6

36. Schuler2828 (Posts: 59; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)

That's total bulls**t! If they can't charge there phones there then there's no point in having an outlet there! Like 5 people charging there phone every year is gonna ruin our country! Government ever heard of helping the people instead of taking away there right to charge there phone?

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:48

37. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I hope someone puts a power strip there so then they call can get a charge. Never know when they might need the phone, either for emergency or maybe for a job interview.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:05

62. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

Amen, McLTE. As an example, the mayor of my medium sized town in CA only eats at five star restaurants... But by all means, arrest the homeless for using public oulets to charge their phones!!!

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 12:52

26. ibap (Posts: 752; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)

.41¢ is less than half a cent.

You meant $0.41 - and while I'm not at all an iPhone fan, at least get your facts right, or you'll be homeless because you've lost your job due to cluelessness.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 07:03

49. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

I figured some one would post something clueless, and u did it. Totally uncalled for statement.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 09:46 3

16. ltavaress (Posts: 23; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)

here in Brazil they come from other homeless people who breed

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:23 3

29. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

And as a Brazilian by birth, I say that you should be ashamed of having said such an ignorant thing. Animals breed, not people. As a kid I remember seeing poor homeless kids, as young as two freezing in the streets. Shame on you,man.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 17:48 1

43. meowcenary (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

We are animals as well or have you forgottern the evolution of H.sapiens. Sex is a part of breeding. Unless you have forgotten because we climbed to the top of the food chain. Nothing can hurts with our instruments of destruction and we H.sapiens have destroyed other floa, fauna, and hominid groups,

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:16

35. Republican (Posts: 99; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)

That happens a lot in the third world, such as Brazil. The homeless must be locked up and made to work. They are an eye sore in otherwise good shopping districts.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:49 3

38. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

They're human beings, just like myself and, presumably, you. Have some compassion. You never know when it may be your turn. Yes, they can be put to work and earn their keep, but to say they must be locked up and essentially enslaved and that they're an eyesore is an unkindness and very narrow-minded.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 09:43

50. JunitoNH (Posts: 1589; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

Your right, you know the all saying, when your neighbor is unemployed is a recession, when you are the one unemployed is a depression.

posted on 15 Jan 2016, 11:12

63. ltavaress (Posts: 23; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)

wow I apologize for this stupid comment I made 4 years ago. Dunno what was going on in my head

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 22:19

46. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3103; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

Drugs, drinking problems, they lose their jobs, homes, friends, families, etc etc. Honestly most homeless person are homeless because they are addicts and it's very sad.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 09:52

51. JunitoNH (Posts: 1589; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

Not true, kid get your facts correct; you have better stick with mobile phones and let the adult handle adults problems. The biggest causes of homelessness are: Lack of affordable housing; Unemployment; and poverty. Yes, for some it is substance abuse, as well as mental illness. You also encounter a spike after military personnel come back from a war, for abivious reasons.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:11 7

2. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3606; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Anthony Frangioni should leave the man alone! He's just charging a phone...If you want to make some contributions to the bad economy, make a start from your home, not with the power you have when you work. J€RK!!

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 10:36 4

19. thelegend6657 (unregistered)

I hate cops because of big bully cops like him

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:24 2

30. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

Don't generalize. Just remember, who will come to your rescue if you ever need to dial 911 one day?

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:50

39. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Agreed, charging a phone isn't the same as trying to run a house or electric-car off the city's utilities.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:12 5

3. PhoneAddiction (Posts: 79; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're homeless, you're not supposed to be able to afford a phone right?

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:20 3

5. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

He probably had it before he was homeless

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:24 3

7. mozes316 (Posts: 142; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)

Nah, a lot of phone bills are much lower than a mortgage these days.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 10:46 9

20. McLTE (Posts: 804; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

School is now in session..

Homeless = Not having a home

This does not mean you don't own a car.. or have a job, or a few other necessities.

This does mean that you don't have a HOME for whatever reason.

Now you could argue that keeping a smart phone isn't the smartest thing when trying to get back on your feet.. but the article also doesn't say that the guy was charging his iPhone or GSIII.. he could very well have been charging a pay as you go dumb phone from walmart.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 16:01

41. andynaija (Posts: 784; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

He was charging a basic smartphone as you can tell from the pic it's the Huawei M835.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 15:53 1

40. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

There are government programs for taxpayer-subsidized phones for low-income citizens, and, as others have said, they may have had it before they were homeless, or perhaps a charity provided them, or they found them thrown out, or any other means they may have obtained them. It's entirely possible that it's an old bar phone no one wanted and has no resale value, but it is worthwhile so the bearer can call in an emergency or use for a job interview or something. It wouldn't look good on a job application to say "come find me in the park, I live under the southeast picnic table under the large pavilion"

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 21:01

59. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

not sure if the picture in the article is the homeless person's actual phone or just a stock image but a lot times phones are given to the homeless via various programs b/c even tho it's not active they can still dial 911 if they need help in an emergency.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:24 10

6. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

Cops in Florida are douchebags anyway, they will say or do anything to arrest or fine you, although you could say that about cops anywhere. That cop should be sent the bill for putting the homeless man in jail for the night and wasting state money for something so stupid.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:32 2

10. wicked1 (Posts: 6; Member since: 17 Dec 2010)

cops are the worse people there are had one enter my life about three years ago and it took about teo years to get him out a$$ hole

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 10:32 6

18. Doakie (Posts: 1855; Member since: 06 May 2009)

Wow... Cops are the worst people there are? You obviously haven't lived in impoverished areas for very long. There are true low-life's out there, sure cops can power trip but they spend their entire working days dealing with the scum of society. And if you give them a reason to be suspicious of you they'll take the opportunity to check you out. If you want less cop trouble think about ways to look and act less like a criminal. Act less ghetto, its not hard. Plus this story fails to provide any back story for this homeless man how do you know he hasn't had an extensive list of arrests? The cop might have been doing the world a favor getting this man off of the streets for one night. There are two sides to every story.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 14:12 1

33. wicked1 (Posts: 6; Member since: 17 Dec 2010)

that's my opinon no i don't live in a impoverished area i am speaking about the cops in my area,.no i don't act ghetto, and no i didn't give him reason to be suspicious of me. that cop arrested this man charging a phone in a public park and the judge must have thought this was a silly abuse of authority because he dropped the charges,it just goes to prove you cant judge people by their looks

By the way what is acting ghetto

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:46 2

32. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

Sounds like someone got into a relationship with a cop, and now is bitter about it...

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:26 3

8. eisenbricher (Posts: 973; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

Wireless charging plates rule!!!

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 08:53 3

12. omega47 (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Nov 2012)

FYI if you are on welfare, you can get a no contract phone and pay a s little as $35 a month or even less. nobody even knows about most of these stupid meaningless laws that are not even enforced, the officer should have informed him instead of arresting him. all due respect to the police, stop being such airheads

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 09:08 1

13. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

At a public picnic shelter? Pretty sure what happened here was illegal and the dude should get a lawyer, if any one wants to deal with a homeless person....I would.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 09:41 1

14. ChafedBanana (Posts: 367; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)

Homeless people may have lost about everything, but at least this one didn't lose his phone.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 10:07 2

17. iGREGG (Posts: 66; Member since: 18 Sep 2012)

this dont make no damn sense

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 11:13

21. Rayvelynn (Posts: 124; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

maybe my definition of homeless is different from everyone elses, I think of a homeless person not owning a cellphone where do they get the funds to pay for it monthly. You have to have a job, lol

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 11:36 3

22. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Said homeless, not broke.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 12:02

23. f1r3z0r (Posts: 90; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

Well now the government will spend more money putting in jail this poor guy than recovering the money from the electricity bill.... Now I know where my taxes are wasted beside war or corrupt politicians.... AMERICA is not now like used to be or pretended to be!

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 12:13 3

24. Omarc07 (Posts: 391; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

I wouldn't arrest a homeless man if I saw him charging his phone at a park sure I could do it but I would just pretend to look the other way and pretend I didn't see anything , honestly I wouldn't care but that's me now the other guy that works with me ohhh it would be a different story with him he is a total *****

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 12:56

27. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

Well the irony is that the homeless was trying to make a phone call and when he got arrested he got that change on the city budget.. makes no sense how the law works.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 18:43

44. Droiddoes (unregistered)


posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:29 1

31. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Meh... they arrest and charge mob bosses for things tax evasion instead of murder because they have the evidence to make those charges actually stick.
My guess is the guy had already been camping out in the park before and asked to move along... when the police came back and he was still there, he got arrested and charged with something escalated from previous transient evictions.
Yeah yeah... I know, "Eff the Popo!" and "Power to the People!" and all that good rhetoric, but I like to play Devil's Advocate and actually look at the information presented to me from more than just one angle.
Yields some amazing plausible alternatives and prevents knee-jerk overreactions in my experience.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 14:39 3

34. Whateverman (Posts: 3250; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Yeah, that's it! This homeless scumbag was an eye-sore to decent people trying to enjoy picnics and butterflies, but they couldn't because he was being all poor and stuff. In public of all places. So this fine officer just did what he had to do to get this scumbag (who was about as bad as a mobster, who kills people) off the street and into a correctional facility with those like him. You know with the rapists, killers, and child molesters, gang bangers, and mobsters, so that this criminal could no longer pilfer from the city's small supply of electricity...

I bet 100 to 1 odds, that if there were some business man or woman parked in that same spot charging a tablet, laptop and a cellphone... There wouldn't even be a warning.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 15:37

52. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

No one said he was as bad as a murderer or rapist... just that there's more than one historical instance of charges being filed in either escalation to previous incidents or in lieu of concrete evidence of other trespasses. But thanks for putting words in my mouth... also see above about knee-jerk reactions.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 16:52

53. Whateverman (Posts: 3250; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Nah, I didn't put words in you mouth. I just showed you how your words sounded. And I don't see any knee-jerk reactions because the facts were all there. The cop didn't say he warned the guy several times before the arrest or that there was any prior incidents (or history) involving this gentalman. So we have all the information we needed to know this was yet another bogus arrest. Why you defending so hard...you a cop?

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 17:38

54. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

That's how they sounded to you, because that's the sound you wanted to hear. No different then a self fulfilling prophecy. You expected the worst, so you got it. You should reread the rhetoric of your statement if you see neither your knee-jerk reaction nor the supposed implications you supplanted. I doubt at this point it would do much good, but hey, you never know... every now and then closed-minded people do open up their perspective a bit.

Based on the information in the article above, we really don't know a lot about what transpired between the homeless man and the cop. Well, other than he was doing something he ought not to. The man was arrested for it, and a judge has since let him go. No false imprisonment, no civil rights violation. Nothing.
If everyone is innocent until proven guilty, then by definition even the cop is innocent until ruled otherwise and should be afforded the same sentiment. You see, I withhold making assumptions until all relevant facts come to light. Be it either the cop or the homeless man deemed right or wrong as the case may be.
No, I'm not a cop, if anything I'm an existential nihilist. I simply don't care what happened one way or the other. So no, I'm not even defending all that hard as it's an incident that has no immediate bearing on me whatsoever. Merely offering plausible alternative commentary & observation. One could ask why that is so threatening to you though. Seems you have a chip on your shoulder. Is that so? Why is your reaction to label me as a cop, I certainly didn't ask if you were homeless?

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 19:45

55. Whateverman (Posts: 3250; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Wow, you were awfully quick to make assumptions about me there though, weren't you. My remarks were just sarcastic in nature. I didnt thumb you down or use all caps or any exclamation marks. I'm simply saying the cop made a bogus arrest, the judge used common sense (since it was obvious the cop had none) and show a little compassion for the guy (since its obvious the cop had none).

There's no chip on my shoulder, I'm just a compassionate person, but if you want to use that to label me as "closed-minded", that's fine. And I asked if you were a cop because not to many people are seeing this from the cop's point of view, except for you. There was even one of those "knee-jerk" reactions from a cop that said he wouldn't have arrested the guy. So I just found it interesting that you come up with a way to justify the cop's bogus arrest and point at the victim. No malice intended.

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 21:45

45. MC1123 (Posts: 1254; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

why is he homeless if he could have an iPhone?

and besides i dont think its really a crime to charge your phone on public places! :P

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 23:17

47. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


judge said a police officer did not have the authority to arrest a homeless man for charging his phone at a public picnic shelter.

posted on 17 Nov 2012, 05:00

48. ogy_dogy (Posts: 453; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)

Only in the us of a..

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 09:01

56. FranksGT (Posts: 167; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)

Seriously the paperwork you filed cost more then him charging his phone. THe gas you wasted hauling him, and also the time spent you could of got a real criminal. I hope this moron lost his job and becomes homeless!

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 17:52

57. Sakmann67 (Posts: 29; Member since: 22 May 2010)

Email this idiot Cop and Let Him have it! Anthony.Frangioni@sarasotagov.com

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