Delray Beach Police Receive Death Threats Over Video Depicting Suspect Being Bitten by Police Dog
A viral video posted by the website Photography Is Not A Crime that appears to show a suspect being bitten by a Delray Beach police dog has prompted some to make threatening phone calls to Delray Beach Police PD. The video, which was shot by an onlooker and uploaded onto Facebook on Monday, appears to show several Delray Beach Police Officers trying to subdue a man before a K-9 comes into view to attack the suspect.
"I'm usually not the one to post about the police [or] police brutality, but after what I witness tonight I think this deserve to be shown to people," wrote the poster, Nick Palermo, on his Facebook. Palermo goes on to say that he didn't know what the suspect had done, but that he was "clearly unarmed," and that six officers tackled the man and repeatedly punched and kicked him before allowing a police dog to bite him.
According to Palermo, and Photography Is Not A Crime, the dog "mauled" the man as horrified onlookers watched and demanded that the cops put a stop to it.
The video, shown below, shows the action taking place at a distance (Palermo claims officers told him to move back). PINAC describes the scene saying, "Delray Beach police are seen surrounding a handcuffed man and allowing their police dog to maul his face outside a South Florida bar."
The video itself, however, is inconclusive over where exactly the police dog actually bites the suspect, though it does not appear to be a mauling.
In his post, Palermo says an ambulance arrived shortly after he stopped filming and took the man away who was "bleeding out badly."
Views of the video took off once PINAC posted it onto their website on Monday. The article goes on to say that some witnesses described the suspect as "dark skinned."
But the Delray Beach PD say that the suspect arrested that night was Mason Courson, a white man who has apparently ten charges against him, including battery. In an impromptu press conference called Tuesday afternoon to address the video, Delray Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Goldman said police were called when Courson attacked a staffer at Il Bacio Restaurant, according to CBS 12 reporter Lauren Hills.
When officers approached him to remove him from the restaurant, Courson became belligerent and aggressive. He hit, or pushed the officers, and "flipped them off." When officers tried to arrest him, Courson displayed "superhuman strength," which is why they had the K-9 unit called in.
Someone got cell phone video of some of incident & posted it claiming the k9 "mauled" the suspect. Chief says false. pic.twitter.com/PGqCAvF1wT— Lauren Hills (@LaurenHillsTV) September 8, 2015
PD arrested Courson but say suspect hit or pushed police officers, flipped them off, and swore at them. pic.twitter.com/d4qrBTKy1E— Lauren Hills (@LaurenHillsTV) September 8, 2015
Delray Beach Police also say the dog bit Courson in the arm. Once Courson was taken to the hospital, a nurse said he had displayed the same behaviors as someone high on flakka. Courson also allegedly kicked an ER nurse, according to police.
As a result of the video going viral, the Delray PD say they have received calls from people threatening to shoot police officers, though they don't believe that the callers are local. Police are trying to track down who the callers were, according to Hills.
There is still going to be an investigation on the officers who subdued Courson, as well as the K-9 unit involved, to make sure that no policies were violated.
A request by New Times for Courson's arrest report on the night in question from the Delray Beach PD was not immediately returned.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.