Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg officer suspended for leaving prisoner in van

ST. PETERSBURG — A short break will cost Officer Sandra Minor two days of pay.

That's because Minor left a prisoner — a college student in trouble over a speeding ticket — chained alone inside a police van while she stopped by a cafe and chatted with friends.

That violated agency policy, which is why the St. Petersburg Police Department said it will suspend Minor for two days without pay.

"We discovered she used some poor judgment," said police Chief Chuck Harmon.

Minor violated agency rules by engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and being inefficient in her duties, according to a report released Thursday. The admonition is a minor blemish in the 22-year career of Minor, who has earned praise for her work with the homeless.

She's been in the headlines before. In 1996 she was partnered with Officer James Knight, who fatally shot TyRon Lewis during a traffic stop, sparking two days of disturbances.

The incident that led to her suspension started when Francesca Fretta, a 21-year-old political science and prelaw student at the University of South Florida, was pulled over Oct. 17 for speeding.

Within minutes she was in handcuffs, arrested on the rare charge of refusing to sign a citation. Officer John Douglas said she ignored repeated warnings to sign it.

Fretta fainted and was diagnosed at a local hospital with type-2 diabetes. Afterward, Fretta was taken to a prisoner transport van driven by Minor.

But instead of taking her directly to the Pinellas jail, Fretta said Minor drove the van to Cafe Ten-O-One at 1001 First Ave. N to wait for more prisoners.

Then Fretta said the officer left her handcuffed inside the air conditioned van and went into the cafe for 30 to 45 minutes.

By the time Fretta got to the jail, police said she was in Minor's custody for 58 minutes.

Minor said she left the prisoner alone for only 20 minutes and that Fretta never complained about her medical condition. The officer said she stopped by the cafe only to get a drink and checked on the prisoner.

But witnesses undermined that account.

Minor, 47, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. She has 10 days to appeal.

St. Petersburg officer suspended for leaving prisoner in van 02/19/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 20, 2009 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Today is not a dream;' St. Petersburg ready to start building new pier

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG —Three years ago, with the now demolished inverted pyramid still standing stubbornly in the background, Mayor Rick Kriseman laid out a plan to replace or renovate the iconic structure.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addresses the crowd Wednesday morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new pier. Construction will start next week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can't even agree that they agreed to meet

    Local Government

    Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the region's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.

    Or in this case, in the same room.

    This month Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill (above) nixed a joint meeting of the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions. But Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long said her Hillsborough counterpart, Stacy White, had already agreed to two meetings. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
  3. Ex-sheriff's official says sheriff intentionally hid federal inmate revenue from county

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The former third-in-command at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office has filed a complaint, alleging that Sheriff Al Nienhuis intentionally hid from the County Commission $1.3 million in revenue he collected from housing federal inmates last year.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times  Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said he was "extremely disappointed'' to hear of James Terry's allegations about the sheriff's handling of federal inmate dollars and noted that Terry was "offered the opportunity to resign from his position at the Sheriff's Office when numerous complaints as to his unprofessional conduct began flowing into the front office.''
  4. Fewer minions make things better in 'Despicable Me 3'

    Movies

    Despicable Me 3 doubles down on Steve Carell's silly way with words, a smart idea after too much Minions gibberish spoiled part 2. They're still here, in smaller doses and somewhat funnier for it.

     voiced by Trey Parker, in a scene from "Despicable Me 3."  (Illumination and Universal Pictures via AP)
  5. After Rick Scott veto, Tarpon Springs renews push for money to dredge Anclote River

    Local Government

    In a pocket formed at the end of a branch of the Anclote River, Kevin Meisman has seen the size of the boats coming by his family's business get smaller.

    Kevin Meisman, 37, looks out from the dock of his family’s business, Quality T-Tops & Boat Accessories, in Tarpon Springs. Meisman says that, without dredging along the Anclote River, the number of boats he can service is limited.