Man Arrested for Fondling Himself In City Park

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(Memphis) Police arrested and charged a man with public indecency after he allegedly touched himself inappropriately in front of an unsuspecting family with several small children.

Burning off energy at a neighborhood park is a staple for kids enjoying those last sweet moments of summer.

But Memphis Police say a family now has a bitter memory at the city park right next to East High School on Poplar.

Thomas Garner is accused of fondling himself in front of a handful of young children, their parents and grandmother.

“They shouldn’t have to be exposed to somebody else's parts,” exclaimed Vera Cole.

Cole spent Thursday showing kids how to rock climb in the park.

She calls Garners arrest disgusting and perverted.

“I don’t put anything past anybody, but that wasn’t on my mind. Now I’m looking at everybody that moves,” said Cole.

Neighbors who live across the street tell News Channel 3, they actually call police often because it’s not unusual for them to see men lurking around the playground.

Sometimes those lurkers are spotted hiding inside the play sets.

Neighbors say about a dozen officers swarmed the play set around 6 p.m. Wednesday when they arrested Garner.

Joia Brown spends at least one day a week rollerblading in the park.

She's thankful her two young sons weren’t around during Garner's arrest.

But says she personally feels just as comfortable now as she did before.

“There is not a community or neighborhood that can hinder that type of stuff from happening. That can happen in any neighborhood in Memphis,” said Brown.

Cole says just the thought of this happening at an innocent place for kids, makes her uneasy.

“If they are going to expose themselves, why not go ahead and snatch one of the kids of harm somebody? It’s just not right,” expressed Cole.
Thursday afternoon, Garner was still in jail on a $100 bond.


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