After being arrested for misusing 911, she called again — from the back of the cop car

Melanie Leff
Melanie Leff

A Bradenton woman in custody on a charge of misuse of the 911 system, called 911 again on the officer who arrested her, from the back seat of his patrol car.

Melanie Leff, 44, was arrested on Dec. 26 and charged with misuse of the 911 system. As of Thursday, she remained in custody at the Manatee County jail on a $500 bond.

At about 9 a.m. Dec. 26, a Bradenton police officer was patrolling the area near the intersection of 14th Street West and Ninth Avenue West, according to an arrest report. The officer had reportedly received many complaints about Leff panhandling at this intersection but did not witness her doing so when he spotted her.

The officer, however, approached Leff to address the complaints made about her and she became irate with him, he reported. Leff allegedly began to yell at the officer, using strong language.

On New Year's Eve, Michael Lester of Winter Haven, Florida called 911 to report that he was driving drunk. Lester was arrested for DUI, driving on the wrong side of the road, improper use of the center lane and for not wearing a seat belt.

Leff then told the officer she was going to call 911, and he warned her not to because she didn’t have an emergency. The officer contacted police dispatch to warn them they might receive a phone call from Leff, but a dispatcher told the officer they were already speaking with Leff.

The officer then placed Leff under arrest for the charge of misuse of the 911 system. But less than 10 minutes later while she was sitting in the back seat of his patrol car and the officer was waiting for backup from a female officer to search her — Leff called 911 on him again.

Leff had been arrested twice before since November on charges of trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct. She has also been ordered to appear in court to face a charge for panhandling from November.

A public defender assigned to one of her cases filed a motion last week, seeking the appointment of an expert to evaluate Leff’s competency.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012