Teenager charged with attacking off-duty officer in Sarasota park

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with attacking an off-duty police officer while he was jogging in a Sarasota park earlier this week, according to Sarasota police.

About 11:53 a.m. Thursday, the officer was jogging through Payne Park when he saw five teenagers harassing, hitting and pushing a homeless person, police said.

Identifying himself as an officer, he told the teenagers to stop. But the teenager, according to police, turned from the person and started striking the officer.

The officer was hit several times and suffered minor injuries, according to police. The attackers left the area.

Police said they their investigation led them to the suspect, who was arrested Thursday night, according to police. He faces a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

“The officer and the original victim are doing well,” police said in a news release.

The case remains under investigation.

Anyone with information on this case can call Detective Dan Riley at 941-954-7062 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at

Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.