R&R employee arrested for striking 15-year-old fisher

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James Gerard Malfese, 55

James Gerard Malfese, 55, longtime resident of Anna Maria, was arrested July 4 for slapping a child in the face.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reported two minors were fishing at the Rod & Reel Pier, 875 N. Shore Blvd., Anna Maria, when it began to rain and they took shelter in the kitchen.

One of the youths, a 15-year-old male, apparently touched a fire sprinkler guard, which prompted Malfese, who works at the pier, to curse and slap the minor, according to the MCSO report.

Malfese allegedly told the minor “he would whoop his ass and kick him off the pier,” according to the report.

Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Desch and the teen’s mother responded to the scene.

The deputy interviewed the parties and witnesses and reported a welt on the teen’s face consistent with the minors’ version, as well as the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Malfese.

Malfese told the deputy the minors were lying.

He also told police he’d consumed two beers after 4 p.m., when he got off work at the pier.

Another employee at the pier, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Islander the two teens frequently cause problems at the pier and seldom, if ever, are supervised or accompanied by a adult.

Malfese was taken into custody, transported to the Manatee County jail and released July 5.

His court arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

12 thoughts on “R&R employee arrested for striking 15-year-old fisher

  1. gary leigh

    I have known jimmy for many years and like all the other staff on the R and R have always found him courteous and helpful having spent many hours fishing the peir yes there have been incidents with “local” teenagers that can get mouthy and cause trouble .
    I don’t support striking a child but nor do I see the benefit of making a public issue of this when it could probably have been handled more diplomatically
    Gary leigh (England)

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  2. Gill Duckett

    We’ve been visiting AMI from the UK for over 15 years and the Rod and Reel is one of our favourite places. We have always found Jimmy a friendly, helpful and respectful person, he is part of the fabric of the R and R… we don’t condone any sort of assault, however the reaction seems to be well over the top…. we wish him well and hope that justice is done and the boys are reprimanded and he is back where he belongs without any recourse.

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  3. Matt

    As a long-time, part time resident of AMI and frequent visitor of the pier, I can personally attest to the fact that Jim is one of the nicest, kindest people on the island. Not sure of any of the details, but I can bet the kid/kids were completely out of control and Jim was only concerned about the safety of the kids and people at the pier. While unfortunate, in my estimation, this is no reflection of the man Jim is and appears to be an over reaction by everyone involved. We support and appreciate Jim for all he does for the people of AMI.

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  4. William Goodson

    This is another instance that Alcohol does not mix with business . He should not be drinking and acting like an employee. I also frequent the pier and have been set aback by his domineer. Hes is always drunk when I’m there. To think this is a good guy that should be handled lightly is an ignorant statement. He should not have touched the child! He should go to some sort of rehab and get off his addiction to alcohol and what ever else hes on. Mr Malfese should learn something from this as I am sure it was not the first instance of his misjudgment in actions. NOTE TO STAFF OF RR ” you can’t hit kids”.

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  5. Brian

    I’ve been fishing on the R&R pier at least a few days a year nearly every summer since I was a young boy in the late 70s and Jimmy is one of the best guys around at doing that job. It’s a shame that happened to him. I don’t know him well but he’s always been a pretty friendly person, likeable and very helpful around the pier in the 15-20 years I can remember seeing him. Technically he crossed the line, but I was there that day and few other days that week and saw those boys regularly acting like idiots and causing trouble, it was wrong to strike one of them but they definitely needed to be disciplined. For example, a day or so earlier one of them asked me for the mackerel I was catching because they wanted to use them as snook bait. I politely explained that all the fish I was catching were a little undersized, i.e., illegal to keep, which is why I was throwing them back. So about a half hour later I was fishing about 20 yards from them, still catching mackerel, and the same kid yells in a somewhat authoritative voice, “I want that mackerel!” He then does it again about 10 min later regarding my next fish saying, “I said, I want those mackerel!” I then turn to him and in an equally loud and very direct voice say, “I told you, they’re undersized, which is why I’m not keeping them or giving them away.” I gave him a good stare until he looked away. I could tell he clearly got the point that he was out of line and way out of his depth and that not everyone you encounter is someone you can bully. With the rare exception of kids like this though, that pier, and Anna Maria Island in general, is a very fun and pleasant place to be.

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  6. Dan

    Jim is wonderful on the pier. Helpful, diligent and now deserves to be treated with total respect, in the same way as he has always treated others.

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  7. C Gremley

    Jimmy is a good guy and has never caused a problem. I am sad to see our system is so broker that they turn on such great guy. Jimmy is part of the R&R family. Regardless, of what transpired I support Jimmy.

    Reply
  8. Terri White

    This is a well respected long time employee and I’m guessing the teen needed his ass whooped but I wasn’t there. I think the arrest is a little heavy handed and the publicity ridiculous.

    Reply
  9. john allinson

    This guy has been around the Rod n reel pier for a long time and has done a huge amount of good over the years, always friendly, good with the people who fish and work there and known by everyone, tourists and locals. Maybe legally he stepped out of line, but that doesn’t mean he has to be hauled over the coals. I’ve been using the pier for twenty five years and remember many kindnesses shown by him.

    Reply

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