Nurse supervisor's arrest questioned

Police: Man wouldn't let officers into facility for patient seeking to leave

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A nurse supervisor at a mental health treatment center on the Southside was arrested last week in an incident involving the father of an officer who checked himself into the facility.

Anthony Grissett, 38, is charged with false imprisonment. He has since been released on his own recognizance, but cannot leave Duval County.

"I think there might have been some over-reaction in arresting the nursing supervisor," said attorney Eric Friday, who's not affiliated with the case. "That will be determined by the courts. There is a legitimate question as to who was right in this case. And I think the court is going to have to look at this closely and look at the law closely and decide who did right and who did wrong. Ad that's why we have the court system."

According to a police report, the father of a police officer --not from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office -- checked himself into Wekiva Springs Center because he was grieving the loss of his wife, who died nine months ago. Once he got to the facility, he said he realized it was geared toward drug rehabilitation and didn't suit his needs.

The officer's father wanted to leave, but the facility wouldn't let him. So he called his son, who's an officer, and daughter-in-law, who's a retired law enforcement officer. They couldn't convince facility management to release him, so they called JSO.

Officers responded and called a sergeant for backup, who in turn called the on-duty assistant state attorney, who said because the patient checked himself in voluntarily, he could not be held against his will.

Police had trouble getting inside, which is where Grissett comes into the picture. The report says, "As Tony opened the doors to the waiting area, Sgt. O'Neal attempted to open the door. Tony snatched the door from him and placed his foot in the doorway and put his hand up, telling Sgt. O'Neal that he was not allowed to go in the back."

Police handcuffed the supervisor and escorted him to a chair in the waiting room.

Friday believes the facility may have been in the right.

"Facilities that take voluntary admissions can continue to hold somebody for up to 24 hours, as long as if they hold them more than 12 hours, they give them a doctor's examination before they release them," Friday said.

Grissett's attorney, David Barksdale, released this statement: "Mr. Grissett acted in compliance with State law regarding patient discharge, so we are unable to determine why he was arrested. Because of patient confidentiality and because this is a pending case, we cannot comment further."

"It is a difficult case that does not easily lead to conclusive answers one way or the other," Friday said.

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