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May 29, 2024

Bartow Police Officer arrested by PCSO for improper conduct with teenage girls involving alcohol, THC, and a video recording involving nudity

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

A Bartow Police Department officer was arrested by detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, after the PCSO was requested by Bartow PD on May 8, 2024 to investigate  his actions involving four teenage females, inappropriate video, drugs, and alcohol. 

24-year old Markanthony Fernandez was charged Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at the Polk County Jail with four felonies and six misdemeanors for events that occurred during the weekend of February 3, 2024…events that Fernandez recorded on video and sent to fellow officers at Bartow PD. Those officers reported it to their supervisors.

“Markanthony Fernandez has embarrassed his community, police department, and law enforcement officers everywhere. In contrast, his fellow officers at Bartow Police Department did the right thing by reporting his conduct. Markanthony Fernandez must never wear a badge again.” - Grady Judd, Sheriff 

The investigation identified four females involved with the incident in February; two were 18-years old, the other two victims were 17 and 16-years old.

Fernandez recorded several videos. One video showed one of the 18-year old girl’s wearing a Bartow PD jacket, while a 17-year old committed a sexual act on the 18-year-old at the urging of Fernandez. Several of the videos show the victims naked with Fernandez inside his residence. 

Fernandez provided all four with alcoholic beverages, THC vape pens, and THC gummies.

Fernandez was also accused of going into a bedroom at his residence where the 16-year old was, and began to touch her and choke her. 

Markanthony Fernandez was booked-in at the Polk County Jail and charged with: Promotion of a Juvenile in a Sexual Performance (F2), Use of a Juvenile in a Sexual Performance (F2), Battery by Strangulation (F3), Illegal Use of a 2-Way Communication Device (F3), Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (M1, 2-counts), and Provide Alcoholic Beverages to A Person Under 21-Years of Age (M2, 4-counts).

Fernandez has been on administrative leave since February and his employment with Bartow PD is pending termination based on his arrest.