BRADENTON — Just two days after the arrest of former state Rep. Mark Flanagan, the state declined to pursue the charge against him.
Flanagan’s attorney Thursday blasted the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for arresting him.
Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Harrington arrested Flanagan on a charge of resisting arrest without violence Monday, writing in a report that Flanagan refused to tell the deputy the location of his son. Harrington was investigating a hit-and-run crash and wanted to question Flanagan’s son as a possible witness.
When Flanagan refused and told the deputy to leave him a card, Harrington tried to take him into custody on a resisting arrest charge. Harrington wrote in his report Flanagan “began bracing, tensing, and screaming for his wife” to help him when he tried to handcuff Flanagan.
Harrington then took Flanagan to the ground, handcuffed him and took him into custody.
On Wednesday, the Manatee State Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the charge after consulting with the sheriff’s office, a prosecutor’s report said. Harrington is also now the subject of an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office, according to the agency’s spokesman, Dave Bristow. He declined further comment on the arrest.
Flanagan’s attorney and state Rep. Bill Galvano called the arrest “unfounded.” He said his client had no obligation to talk to a law enforcement officer about an investigation in which Flanagan had no involvement.
“The arrest was ridiculous and without basis. It should be a concern to anybody that this kind of thing can happen,” said Galvano.
Galvano said the state’s decision not to go forward was expected, but did little to ease the sting of the arrest.
“The damage was done with the arrest itself. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” Galvano said.
Galvano declined to say if Flanagan was injured during his arrest, or if litigation is being considered.
Bicyclist snatches woman’s handbag
MANATEE — A bicyclist stole a woman’s purse as she was walking along the 3000 block of 14th Street West on Thursday afternoon, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The woman told the sheriff’s office she was walking when at about noon, the bicyclist rode by and took a small black handbag from her left hand as she was carrying groceries in her right hand. The woman was not injured, according to the news release.
The bicyclist was last seen heading north on 14th Street West.
He was described as being about 30 years old with braided, medium-length black hair. He was wearing blue jean shorts and a white shirt, according to the sheriff’s office.
— Robert Napper and Marc Masferrer