Florida LB Morrison arrested for barking at dog, suspended for first two games by Muschamp

By Adam Silverstein
July 21, 2013

Updated on Monday at 8 p.m.

Florida Gators sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for the second time in five weeks on Sunday morning, this time on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest without violence and harassing an on-duty animal after he barked at a police dog.

He was subsequently suspended two games by Gators head coach Will Muschamp, who expressed his displeasure over Morrison getting in trouble with the law a second time this summer in an official team statement released Sunday afternoon.

“I’m extremely disappointed in Antonio Morrison’s decision making,” he said. “He has been suspended from the team and will miss at least two games to begin the season.”

Morrison, expected to start at middle linebacker to begin the season, will miss Florida’s showdowns with Toledo on Aug. 31 and Miami on Sept. 7. It is unknown if he will be allowed to practice with the team. Should Morrison not miss any additional time, he would be able to return to the field against Tennessee on Sept. 21.

BREAKDOWN: 14 Florida Gators arrested under Will Muschamp

The specific public order crime Morrison was charged with falls under Florida Statute 843.19 for offenses against police dogs, fire dogs, SAR dogs, or police horses.

Any person who intentionally or knowingly maliciously harasses, teases, interferes with, or attempts to interfere with a police dog, fire dog, SAR dog, or police horse while the animal is in the performance of its duties commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.

The charges of resisting arrest without violence and harassing an on-duty animal are first- and second-degree misdemeanors, respectively.

According to the police report, Morrison was in a “group of several males” that was walking on Southwest 13th Street when they approached a K9 police car that was stopped to investigate a white vehicle called in following a “suspicious incident and disturbance” at an “after-hours business.”

Morrison then “walked up to the open window of my marked patrol vehicle, stopped and made barking sounds in the window where my K9 partner Bear was located,” according to the arresting officer. “K9 Bear immediately began barking at Antonio, diverting his attention from my investigation and towards him.”

When the officer attempted to handcuff Morrison in front of his vehicle, he initially resisted. Following multiple requests and two additional officers arriving on scene, he relented and was handcuffed, searched and placed in a police car.

“Antonio spontaneously stated several times that he made a ‘woof-woof’ sound at the dog because the dog barked at him,” according to the arresting officer.

K9 Bear is described as “a dual purpose, certified patrol canine [that is] relied upon to protect the citizens of Alachua County and deputies of the Sheriff’s Office.”

Morrison was released on his own recognizance on Sunday morning after spending a few hours in jail. He was booked at 4:15 a.m.

His second arrest in the last five weeks, Morrison was first popped on a charge of misdemeanor simple battery on June 16 after allegedly striking a bouncer.

He accepted a deferred prosecution agreement from the state of Florida, agreeing to pay fines, perform community service and complete other tasks during a six-month probationary period in order to get the charge expunged from his record.

Morrison was disciplined internally by the Gators, according to Muschamp, who explained at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days on July 16 that additional punishment had yet to be determined.

Whether Morrison’s latest arrest is determined to violate his prior deferred prosecution agreement remains to be seen. Should it be determined that it does, he would be eligible for additional penalties including potential jail time.

Update – 8 p.m.: State attorney Bill Cervone told Florida Today‘s David Jones that upon his “initial review” of the details of the incident, he is “concerned about the legality of the arrest.” Jones also notes that an “arrest for disturbing a police action … must [include] some element of malicious interference” and that the “second charge of resisting arrest cannot be applied if the initial arrest is ruled unlawful.”

“My office will look into this as expeditiously as possible,” Cervone added. “If there is a crime involved then the previous deferral is subject to revocation. If not then that will not likely happen unless there is some other material breech.”

Update – Monday, July 22 – 8 p.m.: Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell told The Gainesville Sun on Monday that Morrison should not have been arrested but rather been given a warning after barking at a police dog early Sunday morning. “Our deputies are caught in a lot of threatening situations and are having to make rational, very well thought out decisions in the context of chaos, and sometimes they don’t think them all through,” she admitted.

In the video below, obtained by The Sun from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Morrison is seen tensing his arms (resisting arrest without violence) while asking Deputy William Arnold, the officer whose K9 he barked at, not to arrest him. “Officer, please let me go,” Morrison later said while in the cop car. “I’m not looking for any trouble. I just want to go home. Officer, you know I’m not trying to cause any trouble. You know this. You see me. I’m a good kid, man. I’m not even from down here, man. I never go out, officer. Officer, I just said ‘woof-woof’ at the dog. … This is crazy, man. Officer, I’m not looking for any trouble. I just said, ‘Woof-woof.’ The dog barked at me.”


  1. Mr2Bits says:

    I’m really glad to see my tax dollars went into arresting, driving, booking and releasing a person who barked at a dog. GPD continues to be the biggest joke of a power hungry police department!

    • SaraGator says:

      UF is a cash cow for GPD. I would like to see a breakdown on how much GPD makes on game day vs avg day; UF vs. residents, etc.

  2. SaraGator says:

    I suspect Antonio is in the doghouse.

  3. Tractorr says:

    What does resist really mean here? Did he say “you are joking? You are arresting me for barking at a dog?!”

  4. Lou says:

    Waiting for the self-righteous claiming Morrison’s head in 3, 2, 1….

  5. fg says:

    You cant fix stupid
    Seems like GPD stopped giving breaks once the Officer got ran over and killed during the celebration of the second bball championship.

  6. GatorGrad98 says:

    I agree that arresting someone for “barking” at a police dog is a bit ridiculous, but this kid is already in trouble… Couldn’t he use the common sense God gave him to leave well enough alone??? Instead he winds up in even more trouble, has the coaches pissed at him, & gets suspended for 2 games (at least). Antagonizing the police is just not smart!

  7. Michael Jones says:

    I’m very sorry that Morrison doesn’t seem to have his head screwed on straight. I was hoping that the first incident was an aberration, but now it looks like he’s got a bad combination of too much testosterone combined with being a smart a–. Muschamp better reel him in now. Very disappointing.

    Of course, not surprised at all of the apologist comments above. It was a cocky, arrogant thing for Morrison to do, but of course, this isn’t the age for being accountable, is it? Has to be someone else’s fault that he got in trouble. GPD picking on him instead of Morrison being stupid.

    Morrison is an unusual talent that would probably be 1st round NFL bound after his junior year if he can stop being an idiot. . but like the guy said, it’s hard to fix stupid.

    We’ll need all hands on deck against Miami too, so go ahead and add being very selfish to his other issues by not thinking of his teammates. And quit making excuses for him. The problem doesn’t lie with GPD. You enablers and apologists are a lot more to blame than GPD. Morrison isn’t a victim. There’s consequences for stupid decisions and actions.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Nobody here is fostering an apologist attitude for him but cuffing him and dragging him in for booking is over-the-top and egregious. If the cop felt as though he was indeed committing a crime by barking at a police dog, he should of issued a notice to appear rather than going through the dog and pony show they seem to enjoy doing. Any non-student athlete in Gainesville would receive a written arrest for this the same as other misdemeanor charges like drinking underage, possession for small amounts of marijuana, etc.. Only in Gainesville do the football players get over-the-top law enforcement regulation which is beyond what any regular civilian would see and much worse than any other small collegiate town. People aren’t blaming the police for policing but they are blaming them for the ridiculousness they seem to enjoy relishing in.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Mr.2its, I think you’re taking quite a leap of faith and not to mention a great deal of artistic license to jump to the conclusion that this officer, or the officers of GPD in general, “enjoy” arresting football players. What’s even more disturbing than the lack of respect for authority that Morrison showed by actually walking up the police car to bark at the dog, for god’s sake, is that HE REFUSED TO OBEY THE COP’S COMMAND TO PUT HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS BACK! The cop actually had to call in back-ups to restrain a University of Florida football player.

        So, since you’re jumping to conclusions that you have absolutely no evidence to back up, let me jump to one: COPS ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO ISSUE A NOTICE OF APPEARANCE (in lieu of arresting) TO AN OFFENDER WHO IS POLITE, RESPECTFUL, AND, MOST OF ALL, COOPERATIVE, than to one who isn’t those things. You can’t disrespect a cop by approaching his car and barking in the window at his dog (just let the absurdity of that picture sink in for a minute), then disrespect him some more and even arguably embarrass him by refusing to put your hands behind your back and forcing him to call in back-ups, and then complain later that you got arrested instead of being issued a notice to appear.

        You want a break from the cops? Then give the cops a break. You want respect? Then give respect.

        Combine this incident with the previous one in which he is alleged to have punched a bouncer because the bouncer did not give him preferential treatment, then it becomes fairly obvious that this isn’t a case of GPD picking on athletes, it’s a case of 1 athlete having a serious entitlement issue. In other words, the stereotypical spoiled, pampered, Big Man on Campus jock who thinks that the rules that apply to everyone else shouldn’t apply to him.

        No, you’re an apologist alright. You might be an articulate apologist who does a nice job of presenting your view as the calm voice of reason, but you’re an apologist nonetheless (and by the way, I hear FSU fans making the same complaint every time one of their kids gets popped for pot or whatever. . . “The Tallahassee cops are the worst! They try to make a name for themselves by arresting football players!!”. . blah blah blah. . did the cops plant the pot? [pardon the pun]).

        This one isn’t even a close call. I’m a Florida alum and I’m a huge fan of Morrison. This incident doesn’t change that. But the kid needs to get jerked down a notch or two for his own good and the good of the program (what’s next? sucker punching a ref for a bad call?). We examine everything that happened to Hernandez while he was at Gainesville to see if UF helped create the monster that he apparently became by being too lenient on him, and then we turn around and blame the GPD for doing what Morrison pretty much gave them no other choice but to do and what he clearly deserved.

        Personal accountability, people. An idea who’s time has come.

        • Michael Jones says:

          And, yes, cops often handcuff a suspect prior to issuing him a notice to appear and releasing him. They don’t always do it, but often they do in order to get the situation under control, sort out the facts, and sometimes even to just cool things off a bit (sometimes for BOTH the cop and the suspect) prior to deciding whether to issue a notice of appear.

          • Sarasota 'cane says:

            Well said Michael. The point that has been lost here is that the officer was in the midst of an active investigation and had to break off of that investigation to go protect his K-9 partner from this moron. Cop dogs are considered cops and are afforded almost all of the rights as their handlers. If you punch a cop dog it’s considered assault of a LEO in many jurisdictions. And what cop doesn’t overreact when confronted by a disrespectful drunken thug? They live for it whether you’re a football player, lawyer, or Indian Chief!

            There’s just a lot of bad karma up in Gville right now and there’s been a lot of selfish behavior for the last several years. I almost think it’s inevitable that a program has to implode at some point in order to rid itself of the nonsense and scumbags who take over the locker room.

        • Lou says:

          “You want a break from the cops? Then give the cops a break. You want respect? Then give respect.”

          This rant I’So wrong on so many levels. Cops are supposed to SERVE the public, not DEMAND RESPECT before giving respect. My guess is Antonio was arrested for Barking While Black. Shame on Muschamp for putting PR ahead of common sense and defending his player. Hopefully Morrison will be reinstated once it is concluded that the ARREST WAS ILLEGAL.

          • Michael Jones says:

            lol . . . dude, seriously? I mean, seriously? Like I said, it’s time for personal accountability. Not the race card, the jock card, the small town cop card, the whole-world-is-out-to-get-me card, the dog-started-it-first-by-barking-at-me card, or whatever nonsensical card you want to play . . . we don’t help people who are clearly out of line when we go out of our way to make excuses for them or justify the conduct.

            Right is right and wrong is wrong. Doesn’t matter what color you are. Nobody gets a pass. Hopefully Antonio, a clearly talented kid who plays with a ton of heart and toughness, will use these unfortunate events to learn some valuable lessons, go on to have a great career, and never look back. He’s just a kid, and so far no one has been seriously hurt. Hopefully it’ll never come to that.

        • Mr2Bits says:

          With the recent developments and the underwhelming surprise the cop overreacted(with the likelyhood everything is dropped) ill give you time to eat your crow! While I digress, if he actually actually harassed a police officer/animal, he rightfully deserves punishment but taking him in for booking shows the character and power hungry demeanor of the arresting officer in that he’s over-the-top and power obsessed!

    • Nick says:

      Well said Michael, it seems too many fans can’t put their fandom aside long enough to look objectively at the situation rather than blame shift and make excuses for unacceptable behavior. It seems most are more concerned with how this will affect win/losses rather than looking at it as this young man seems to have serious issues and needs to be reeled in before someone gets seriously hurt and/or Morrison gets in serious trouble.

  8. Jpakra says:

    That was just top flight police work. That boy ought to be a Lieutenant by now! Cool Hand Luke

  9. Courtney says:

    Who let the dogs out!!!!!! Obviously he thinks he is DMX.

  10. Matt says:

    The cop should not have arrested him he should have just opened the door!!!! End of problem!

  11. Michael Jones says:

    Ask Muschamp what was the most disturbing to him: the barking, or the refusal to obey the command of a law enforcement officer? Morrison keeps his mouth shut and does what he’s told, this conversation probably isn’t even happening.

  12. G2 says:

    I would have done the same thing if the dog barked at me first as claimed.

    Seriously, WTH is going on? The kids going to find himself playing for some no name juco if he’s not careful.
    So what’s he doing out roaming club parking lots at 3am?

    Put this guy on double secret probation till football starts and keep him off the streets. Can’t wait to see what he can do on the field this year, the way things are going he might not make it.

  13. Timmy T says:

    This is perfect. Antonio gets it now. Mark my words. He hasn’t done anything really terrible, but he has shown a lack of thought on the outcome of certain actions. This latest incident, which is comical if you think about it, will burn the lesson in his mind. He is a public figure….and somebody is always watching. I truly believe this will serve as a huge wake-up call and Antonio will hear it loud and clear. Hoping anyway.

    • Nick says:

      I agree completely, a violent and unprovoked attack on an innocent person that ruptures their ear drum is a minor virtually victim-less crime and resisting arrest and not cooperating with law enforcement is so funny and comical if you really think about. Yeah couldn’t rationalize or minimalise it any better.

      Hopefully though he will hear the wake-up call better than his victim with the ruptured ear drum.

  14. MAR says:

    This arrest is ridiculous. It’s just barking at a dog. The cop should have just said “Please don’t do that”. Simple, problem over, no trouble. (Unless Morrison does not comply.) Given that Morrison is already in trouble, definitely not smart, but not arrest worthy. However, I think he should be suspended longer for his previous actions. We can’t have players running around with a “holier than thou attitude”, expecting special treatment and then retaliating with violence when they don’t get it. That move by Morrison really pisses me off and he should be humbled by Muschamp with more than a two game suspension. These players should be gracious for the opportunities they have and are given by a fine institution merely for their athletic gift. Humble and thankful…not expecting more.

  15. PD says:

    Very surprised with the number of people here who don’t consider it a jackass move to bark at an officer’s working dog while he is otherwise trying to manage a situation. Respect for a “first responder” as they do their potentially dangerous daily jobs is the decent thing to do and I would think most people, including Antonio, understand barking at a police dog is basically asking for trouble. The kid was also out late in the evening when this happened… Think that’s all he and his friends got into that evening?

    Anyway, he’s young, deserves consequences, as well as an opportunity to work through them. Hope he wakes up and takes advantage of all that is there for him in life. Would be great if our football program could get a break from the embarrassing situations for a bit as well.

  16. cline says:

    what an idiot.

  17. Alex says:

    Don’t bark at police dogs and you won’t get arrested. I remember some idiot slapping a police horse on the ass; didn’t end well.

    This gives McMillain the opportunity to step up.

    • NYC Gator says:

      The problem is you can’t possibly name a single person who actually knew this was an arrestable offense that isn’t a cop or the person who actually drafted this moronic law. A good cop would have issued a warning, or at the very worst arrested Morrison and read him the riot act before releasing him if he showed contrition, which Morrison clearly did if you saw the video.

      Unfortunately, this is Gainesville where the cops and deputies seem to have some kind of vendetta against UF students and athletes. Now this cop has possibly ruined Morrison’s life for the most idiotic arrest I’ve ever seen. This could become a huge recruiting problem for the Gators down the line.

  18. Timmy T says:

    Watch the video. Read the quotes. This was a clown arrest. That said, I think it was a beautiful thing for Antonio. He better hear the damn wake-up call and grow his ass up…fast. His future in football looks very bright, but if he can’t learn to keep his ass home and out of trouble…even stupid chit like this dog barking crap…he’ll puke it all away like so many others.

  19. GatorWP says:

    Cop just knocks off that drink bottle from the hood of his car at the end of the video. Police department shouldn’t support littering!

    • G2 says:

      My thoughts also. This video really make the cops look bad. They need to drop charges and issue an apology from what I can see. These guys didn’t even seem to know who he has, not that it should matter. A Gator fan would have cut him some slack?? Dude need to stay off the streets and out of trouble!

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