Lawsuits filed against the City of Sarasota

Lawsuits filed against the City of Sarasota

Posted: Updated:
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Three men are suing the city of Sarasota, claiming they were treated harshly and falsely arrested by Sarasota police officers.

They are suing for monetary damages, but the attorney also said these suits have a message that officers cannot abuse their authority and get away with it.

In February 2012, Christopher Young was writing peace messages on a sidewalk with chalk.

His work was interrupted when he was stopped, handcuffed while on the ground and arrested.

There is also a video from August 2012. Jason Dragash had gotten into an argument with an officer, and eventually the video shows the officer beating him and restraining him until he was unconscious. He then arrested him.

That officer was later fired.

And there's this story from November 2012.

A homeless man, Darren Kersey was arrested for charging his cell phone in a public park.

At the time Kersey said, "I thought he was gonna let me go. I thought it was a joke."

Charges against all three were later dropped, so now, the three men have filed lawsuits against the city and these respective police officers.

The plaintiffs claim they were falsely arrested.

Attorney Andrea Mogensen said, "Power is not absolute. If they don't use it responsibly, litigation can occur."

Attorney Andrea Mogensen represents the three men.

They're suing for $15,000 in monetary damages.

She says it's telling that despite the harsh arrests, charges were later dropped.

Mogensen said, "From a practical view, that is a sign that the arrests did lack merit."

Kersey is filing a lawsuit on one count of false arrest, but the other two men, Dragash and Young, are suing on a count of false arrest and battery.

Mogensen is waiting to hear back from the city.

Mogensen said, "They're important to keep government in check to remind them their power is not absolute and they need to use them responsibly. If they do not, then there will be repercussions."

The city attorney has not gotten back to us at this time.

The police chief could not comment, only saying these events all occurred before her tenure here.


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