The State Attorney’s Office dropped misdemeanor charges against Florida Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison on Tuesday.
The Associated Press via Fox Sports Florida quoted State Attorney Bill Cervone who said the charges were dropped mainly due to lack of evidence.
He said that the “dismissal is based on the lack of evidence to warrant much less legally sustain those charges and the complete inappropriateness of pursing court action against Morisson, or anyone else, under the circumstances involved.
“The charge of interfering with a police animal requires malice, and none exists. It also requires that the animal be engaged in some official duty, and it cannot be said that sitting in the back of a police cruiser is case he is needed constitutes being engaged in such activity.”
Cervone is referring to an incident which occurred early Sunday morning in which Morrison allegedly barked at a police dog named Bear. A police officer named William A. Arnold was at the scene for an unrelated incident when he saw the dog bark back at Morrison, which the officer says diverted the animal’s attention away from the investigation.
Morrison initially resisted arrest but was eventually booked at the Alachua County Jail at 4:15 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Dan Wolken of USA Today Sports reveals a video of the incident which was released on Monday “appeared to show that police might have acted overzealously.” He also adds Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell saying a warning would have sufficed.
Morrison was also arrested on June 16 for allegedly punching a bouncer at a night club. He received deferred prosecution on the simple batter charge. He was also ordered to stay out of trouble for six months. Mark Long of the Associated Press writes the latest arrest involving the police dog could have violated terms of that agreement.
Long also points out Gators coach Will Muschamp suspended Morrison for the first two games of the 2013 NCAA season due to the second arrest. It still remains unclear if this suspension will stand.
The statement from the State Attorney’s Office indicating the dropped charges can be seen here.