Delray Beach Police Threatened After Arresting Intoxicated Patrol at Downtown Bar
By Jason Schwartz
The Delray Beach Police Department has been receiving a barrage of phone calls and threats after a cellphone video posting of officers arresting a Weston man went viral over the holiday weekend.
In the one-minute video, police officers can be seen scuffling with an intoxicated man as they tried to put him in handcuffs. Officers could be heard yelling “Stop fighting with us” as well as barks from a police K-9.
But a Facebook posting with the video accuse the officers of brutality.
“From what I saw, he was clearly unarmed,” wrote Nick Palermo, who works at a nearby restaurant and captured the incident on his cell phone. “Six police officers tackled him to the floor and repetitively punched and kicked him, and to make matters worse they did the K-9 unit to come out and after the man in already in handcuffs they let the dog go at it on his face. I just don’t think that after a man is already in handcuffs on the ground that they need a dog to bite him and make him bleed out.”
That post triggered the calls, which did not sit too well with police brass.
“To the individuals that called this department and threatened our officers, and our profession, we will find out who you guys are and we will go ahead and arrest you,” Police Chief Jeffrey Goldman said of the threats. “Some of [the threats] were as graphic as basically stating they will shoot officers in the face.”
The incident at Il Bacio began at 12:48 a.m. Monday Sept. 7th, when employees at the bar asked a police officer working an off-duty detail to remove an intoxicated patron, who later was identified as Mason Courson.
Courson, 19, had allegedly punched the owner of the bar, thrown him to the ground and was yelling at the owner when the officer arrived, police said.
When officers caught up with him, Courson aggressively refused to be handcuffed, punched, kicked and attempted to pull away, police said. He also kept his hands tucked under his chest, police said.
Scenarios such as that can be dangerous for an officer, especially considering Courson had already shown a propensity for violence, Goldman said.
“I can tell you those aren’t good situations for officers when hands are not seen. The guy had already punched an officer, they’ve asked him to remove his hands from his body, he didn’t do it.”
Goldman denied allegations that the police K-9 mauled Courson. Instead, he said the dog bit him on the arm when he resisted arrest.
Courson was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries. He is also accused of kicking an emergency nurse while being medically cleared, police said.
Courson was charged with assault and battery on an officer, disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest and marijuana possession. He was released from the Palm Beach County jail on $22,500 on that Monday.