Charges dismissed against Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison
One day after Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison should have been given a warning instead of arrested for barking at an on-duty police canine, the Gainesville State Attorney's Office on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Morrison based on a lack of evidence.
Bill Cervone, State Attorney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, said the arrest never should have occurred.
"In my view, no arrest should have been made in this case, whether technically sustainable or not," Cervone said in a statement. "In my office, I teach and we attempt to practice restraint. The power to do something as profound as depriving another person of liberty and subjecting him to all of the consequences of an arrest or prosecution cannot be abused, even when one's patience is thin. After nearly 40 years as a prosecutor I understand the pressures that officers on the street deal with. Those pressures simply cannot be allowed to override the common sense and the law, as they may have in this situation."
Morrison's deferral agreement from a case in July will remain intact, with Cervone saying "there are no grounds to revoke that agreement."
A 19-year-old from Bolingbrook, Ill., Morrison was arrested for the second time in 35 days early Sunday (July 21) after he was accused of interfering with a police animal and resisting arrest without violence when he allegedly barked at a police canine who was sitting in the police car. The dog's officer was responding to an official call.
Morrison remains suspended from all team activities and the first two games of the season .Florida coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday evening that "as of now, nothing has changed with Antonio Morrison's discipline status."
Earlier in the day during an appearance on ESPN, Muschamp said he was disappointed in Morrison's decision-making.
"It's all about making good choices and decisions, and he made a poor choice and decision to be out at 3 o'clock in the morning. And that's No. 1 with me."