Sarasota teen arrested for attacking homeless man, off-duty officer, police say

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A teenager was arrested after attacking a homeless man, and an off-duty officer who tried to intervene, police said.

Investigators said the Sarasota police officer was jogging near Payne Park around noon Thursday when he spotted a group of teenagers harassing and hitting a homeless man. The officer tried to break it up, but then they ganged up on him.

During a photo lineup, the officer identified the young suspect as the boy who punched him in the face, according to an arrest affidavit. The boy is also accused of calling the officer, “fat police officer cop.” The teen was arrested on a battery charge.

One of the teens involved was arrested early Friday morning, and police say they are still searching for the others who were involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department at 941-366-8000.