Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested late Saturday evening on charges related to barking at a dog. Today, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said the arresting officer should have just issued Morrison a warning.
The Sheriff's Office also released the dashboard camera footage which includes a conversation between Morrison and his arresting officer (audio begins at 3:51). When you hear Deputy William Arnold's explanation for the arrest, you can see Sheriff Darnell's point.
“Let me simply explain something to you,” Arnold said. “I've been listening to you for a few minutes, and here's the problem I got with this, all right? My dog is watching my back and their back. Stop talking. When you walk up to the window and say something to him, you distract him if I need him. So if I open my door remotely with this push button, he's coming out to you and not to me when I need him. That's the end of the story. That's interfering, harassment and teasing a police dog while he's engaged in his duty. That's what you're being arrested for. All right?”
“I'm being very direct and to the point with you. You're not getting it. You're not getting it at all. You can continue to sit here with your crocodile tears and ask me for favors and do whatever. I'm telling you, you're going to jail for interfering with my dog. That's it.”
Darnell added that she believed the officer was technically correct and that Morrison could have been arrested for barking at a dog, but based on the circumstances a warning would have been more appropriate. In the audio you can also hear someone, presumably Arnold, say his "patience is pretty thin."
State Attorney Bill Cervone was less confident than Darnell. He's not convinced there's enough in the record to demonstrate a crime was committed, noting that the statute requires malicious intent. Said Cervone, "[s]imply barking at a dog may not be enough."
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