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St. Petersburg detective headed to federal prison resigns from force

ST. PETERSBURG — Anthony Foster, the veteran homicide detective who pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud in federal court on Oct. 20, resigned from the force before he could be fired on Wednesday.

Foster, 40, was arrested on June 8 by FBI agents who spent the summer secretly watching and recording the detective demanding — and accepting — cash and gifts from a confidential informant.

After his arrest, the police department suspended him without pay, started an internal investigation and imposed new safeguards for handling informants.

Foster resigned on Nov. 8. Had he not quit, according to a chain of command board convened on Wednesday, he would have been fired for numerous violations of department policy. Foster's sentencing is scheduled for January. He faces 18 to 24 months in a federal prison.

Two other chain of command boards held Wednesday cleared officers in recent shooting incidents.

One board ruled that Officer Ruben DeJesus, 50, was justified in using deadly force in the Sept. 26 shooting of 18-year-old Jared Speakman at the Jungle Prada Park boat ramp.

The officer shot and killed Speakman after the two wrestled in the dark over a .22-caliber revolver the officer saw in his pants pocket, according to police. DeJesus was also cleared in a Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office report issued last month.

Speakman had no criminal record in Florida, according to state records. His family called the shooting unnecessary.

Another board cleared Officer Nicolo Mangiaracina, 32, in the shooting of two suspects fleeing from police on Sept. 12. The incident took place at 3 a.m. near a large gathering of people at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street S.

After hearing gunshots, police pursued four suspects who ended up crashing their vehicle into a utility pole at 26th Avenue and 30th Street S. As the suspects ran away, Mangiaracina saw one point a gun at him, according to police, so he shot and wounded two of the men.

Both suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said.

St. Petersburg detective headed to federal prison resigns from force 11/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:04pm]
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