BARTOW (FOX 13) - Officers in Bartow are shedding light on their side of an arrest that has them under suspicion of using excessive force. Police arrested the man because, according to the arrest report, he refused to identify himself.
The police report says Officers Jordan March and Michael Bennett went to E. Magnolia St. Monday morning to serve a felony warrant on Dequarius Cooper. Instead, they say Marquis Wright was there, smoking a cigarette in the backyard.
Police say when they asked his name, he said, "I'm not giving you my name, I have 'no trespassing' signs, I don't have to tell you."
According to the report, Officer Bennett then says he told the man he'd be arrested for resisting unless he identified himself. Later, police wrote that Wright resembled the person who they were actually looking for.
"He doesn't have to identify himself; he is on his own property," said defense attorney Jeff Brown. "We are not talking about being pulled over in a vehicle."
"If they believe that is the person that they are seeking with the arrest warrant, that would be reasonable suspicion he has committed a crime. There's a warrant outstanding for him, but they better be able to back it up," said Brown.
Officers wrote on an offense narrative that they believed Wright resembled the person they were looking for and that his mother admitted as such immediately following the incident.
The report then says the officers tried to handcuff Wright, but that he raised his arms and resisted. A stun gun was used by officers on Wright and he was wrestled to the ground.
Officers claim Wright kicked them. They stunned him a second time and then deployed a K9.
Wright's pastor, meanwhile, is organizing the complaint to the police department.
"It is clear, you can see that was unnecessary," said Pastor Clayton Cowart. "We need to deal with the officers... Those officers need to be taken out office if they have this kind of mindset."
After the bite is when police say Wright shouted his name.
Attorney Jeff Brown says even if the arrest is unlawful, "You're not allowed to violently, or with violence, resist."
Wright's attorney sent FOX 13 several notarized witness accounts that have been submitted to the state attorney. One says Wright did not resist. Another says Wright told officers he wasn't his brother before they made physical contact.
Both officers are still on regular duty as this case is reviewed by the department. The deputy chief says the department needs to gather more information to determine if force was used appropriately.
Both officers received minor injuries from the incident, including bruises and cuts to their hands. One was also bitten on the leg by the dog.
Wright was charged with resisting without violence and has been released from jail.