The Antonio Morrison arrest explainer: FAQs and answers for Florida linebacker's legal issues

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Antonio Morrison arrests are already getting confused and distorted. So here's a quick rundown of what really happened in both situations.

Florida's Antonio Morrison has been arrested twice and on three misdemeanor counts in the last 33 days. It's understandable that people might be getting those incidents and charges mixed up.

But we here at Alligator Army care about accuracy and fairness, so we wanted to provide a public service of dubious value by going through some questions people might have about Morrison's arrests and explaining what happened according to all available information.

What was Morrison arrested for?

In the early morning hours of June 16, 2013, Morrison was arrested for misdemeanor battery by a Gainesville Police Department officer after allegedly punching a bouncer outside the Kava Lounge on University Avenue in Gainesville.

In the early morning hours of July 21, 2013, Morrison was arrested for resisting arrest without violence and harassing a police animal by an Alachua County Sheriff's Office officer after allegedly barking at a police dog inside a patrol car and resisting police detainment after doing so.

What was Morrison charged with?

On the morning of June 16, Morrison was charged with simple battery, a first degree misdemeanor, under Florida statute 784.03.1a1, often called "battery: touch or strike."

On the morning of July 21, Morrison was charged with harassing a police animal, a second degree misdemeanor, under Florida statute 843.19.4 and with resisting arrest without violence, a first degree misdemeanor, under Florida statute 843.02.

What punishments does/did Morrison face?

After his arrest on June 16, Morrison was transported to the Alachua County Jail, where he remained before being released on his own recognizance on June 17. If convicted, he could have faced possible punishments of a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

After his arrest on July 21, Morrison was again transported to the Alachua County Jail, where he remained before being released on his own recognizance. If convicted, he could face possible punishments of a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000 for his arrest for resisting arrest and a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $1,000 for harassing a police animal.

Update: Both charges against Morrison stemming from his July 21 arrest have been dropped.

Hours after his second arrest, Morrison was also suspended for the first two games of Florida's 2013 season by Will Muschamp. Update: Muschamp has indicated no change in Morrison's status since the charges have been dropped.

What exactly happened in each incident?

Early on the morning of June 16, Morrison allegedly got into a dispute with a bouncer at Kava Lounge on University Avenue while attempting to get a discount for entry to the club — which operates as a bar until 2 a.m., then stops serving alcohol and remains open until 4 a.m. — and yelled, "Don't you know who I am? I am a football player! I am Antonio!" According to multiple witnesses, Morrison then struck the bouncer on his head, leaving visible swelling. Morrison was arrested and taken to jail.

Early on the morning of July 21, Morrison allegedly walked up to the open window of a police car that was stopped outside the All Star Sports Bar on 13th Street after responding to a disturbance, stopped, and barked at a police dog, which began barking back at Morrison, "diverting (the dog's) attention from (the arresting officer) and towards (Morrison)." After being asked to stand at the front of that vehicle, Morrison resisted being detained in handcuffs, with two additional officers eventually aiding in handcuffing him. Morrison was handcuffed and searched, and later "spontaneously stated several times that he made a 'woof-woof' sound at the dog because it had barked at him." Morrison was advised that he was being arrested and charged, then taken to jail.

Both arrest reports are embedded at the bottom of this post for more details.

Were alcohol or drugs factors in the arrests?

On the morning of June 16, Morrison, 19, told his arresting officer that he didn't remember much because he was intoxicated at the time of his alleged battery, according to the police report.

There is no mention of alcohol or drugs in the police report for Morrison's arrest on July 21, though that neither proves nor disproves whether alcohol or drugs were a factor.

What punishment has come from the arrests?

On June 28, Morrison received a deferred prosecution agreement in his battery case, which included the following stipulations.

As part of his agreement with the State Attorney's Office, Morrison must pay a prosecution fee of $100 and donate $150 to CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services or perform 12 hours of community service.

Morrison also must attend a drug and alcohol abuse program at UF, attend an anger management program and take part in two eight-hour ride-alongs with UF police.

Morrison must fulfill the terms of the agreement in six months. If he does, his record will be clean.

Morrison has also been placed on a curfew as a condition of his release from jail:

Last week at SEC Media Days, Will Muschamp told reporters that he was undecided on a punishment for Morrison after his first arrest. After Morrison's second arrest, Muschamp suspended Morrison for the first two games of Florida's season.

Who will represent Morrison?

Gainesville lawyer Huntley Johnson represented Morrison in his battery case, and will almost certainly represent him in this new case.

What happens from here? Is Morrison's situation likely to get worse?

Morrison's arrests on Sunday likely violated the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement, and could leave him in a world of hurt if those charges are pursued, as that agreement is "subject to revocation" if circumstances warrant it. But Florida State Attorney Bill Cervone is also not exactly convinced that this second arrest was lawful:

If convicted, Morrison would likely be sentenced to a significant jail term and made to pay a significant fine, but there is a long road between being charged and convicted.

Update: Again, charges have been dropped against Morrison in his second arrest. His deferred prosecution agreement also remains intact.

Is there a recent history of charges against Florida players being dropped?

Yes. Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy was arrested for marijuana possession in February, only to have that charge dropped two weeks later.

Can I read the police reports?

Yes, you can. Here's the police report from Morrison's June 16 arrest.

And here's the police report from Morrison's July 21 arrest.

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