Was man handcuffed when Delray police K9 bit?

Posted at 4:38 AM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 04:38:13-04

There are renewed calls of excessive force against the Delray Beach police department related to a video which got national attention.

Early Sept. 7, police arrested Mason Courson. A bystander caught part of the arrest on cellphone video and posted it online. It made rounds on the internet with headlines like "Florida Cops Allow Police Dog to Maul Handcuffed Man's Face."

The Delray Beach police chief addressed the video last week to show the dog did not maul the man in the face, but bit his arm. The chief also said Courson wasn't handcuffed at the time of the bite.

Monday, Courson's lawyers spoke out saying the Broward County 19-year-old was handcuffed when the K9 bit him.

"There was no reason, except for cruelty and pleasure and fun like go, go, go, to the dog, to ever have released it on him," attorney Gary Kollin explains.

He says his client, Courson, wasn't resisting at the point the video shows.

Kollin argues the angle of the bite marks in pictures prove Courson's hands were behind his back, where police wanted them, when the dog bit him.

He says you can even hear handcuffs clicking before the dog bites, but the video is not clear enough to see if Courson was in cuffs or resisting.

Kollin wants the officers involved to be punished. He also also says the chief of police spoke too soon defending his agency.

"The chief made his statements without conducting any investigation of any physical evidence, or concentrating on anything other than believing 100% what his officers had to say," Kollin says.

Last Tuesday, Delray's police chief said Courson was laying onto of his arms, refusing to put them behind his back. Police used the K9 to get Courson to follow their orders.

Chief Jeffrey Goldman did not make a new statement Monday, saying he stands by what he said last week.

"There is no police brutality there," Goldman said. "It's an easy thing to say when you have five or six cops standing around an individual that's fighting."

The police department did launch an internal review of how officers responded, which a spokesperson says is standard procedure. The review isn't finished yet.

No officer has been suspended as a result of the incident.

No one has made a formal complaint to the department about the way officers handled the incident.

Kollin says his team is still doing research before deciding whether to file a complaint or a civil lawsuit.

According to arrest reports, Courson punched a man at Il Bacio bar, then shoved a police officer twice when the officer asked him to leave the bar. Eventually Courson went outside, where several officers worked to control him. The bystander recorded the K9 arrive on scene.