SUNRISE, Fla. – Police officers said they had to use a K-9 officer to bring a suspect into custody, but witnesses who recorded the arrest on video said that's when things appeared to get out of control.
Cellphone video captured by witnesses shows the moments Sunrise police took a suspect to the ground near the 1900 block of Northwest 58th Terrace.
Residents watched from their balconies as the dog bit down on the man while officers shouted out commands for him to turn over and stop resisting.
Screams could be heard from the suspect, identified as Louis L. Roper, 23.
"Police saying, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground,' and the young man screaming, like, in agonizing pain," one witness said.
Witnesses shouted for the officer to release his K-9. The biting continued for more than a minute and 15 seconds.
“There was the officer who had him on the ground with the knee in his back and the dog had his leg, like, his thigh area with a grip,” the witness said.
Ultimately, the officer had to cut the dog free from Roper's pant leg.
“The guy that was with the dog tried to get the dog off, but the dog wasn’t letting up,” the witness said.
Local 10 News contacted Sunrise police, who said Roper was pursued by officers while speeding in his red Nissan Maxima, driving recklessly, running a stop sign and then taking off on foot when he parked his vehicle.
When police caught him, they said he punched the officer repeatedly in the stomach, grabbed his arms, belt and vest, and at one point tackled the Sunrise police cop to the ground, injuring him.
After several warnings, the K-9 was released, but some people who spoke with Local 10 News believe the officer may have lost control of his K-9 partner.
“I don’t want to say excessive. I just think more could’ve been done to get the dog to loosen,” the witness said.
Police said Roper was arrested after officers found a substance believed to be marijuana in one of his pockets.
Sunrise police issued a statement, which read, in part: “We have not received a complaint or observed any actions that would require investigation of excessive force at this time.”
Roper remains in the Broward County Jail facing charges that include battery on an officer and an EMT with violence to reckless driving.