Trooper arrested at game appears in court
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper who was arrested at a Cleveland Browns football game after he was accused of throwing peanuts at deputies has been released on bond, and police said he later vandalized a holding cell.
Jason Fantone, 34, of Canfield, appeared in court Tuesday on a felony vandalism charge, and the case was sent to Cuyahoga County prosecutors, court spokesman Ed Ferenc said. Fantone was released on a personal bond.
Two Mahoning County deputy sheriffs working at the game Sunday and another officer asked to see Fantone’s ticket after he allegedly threw the peanuts at the deputies who were working security at the stadium, The Plain Dealer reported.
Fantone became belligerent, yelled obscenities and refused to comply with the deputies’ orders to “desist his alarming and turbulent behavior,” the Cleveland police report says. The report says the 6-foot, 205-pound trooper was “highly intoxicated” and continued yelling profanities while being taken to a stadium holding cell in handcuffs.
Fantone kicked the locked steel door of the cell hard enough to force it open twice and break the latch, the report said. Damage was estimated at more than $500, the newspaper reported.
Police and Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis had no comment.
Fantone works out of the Canfield patrol post in Mahoning County. He did not immediately return a message left there.
He is on administrative leave, pending the criminal and administrative investigations, patrol spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis said Tuesday.
Lewis said Fantone had been a trooper for more than six years and that Fantone’s co-workers selected him as that post’s 2008 Trooper of the Year.
The police report said that, at one point, Fantone yelled: “I’m in handcuffs for throwing peanuts? Those guys are mad at me because I DUI’d some of their guys.”
Mahoning County Sheriff Randall Wellington said he was not aware of any of his deputies’ being cited by Fantone for anything, the newspaper reported.