DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Newly released body camera images show a Daytona Beach officer striking a suspect with a tennis racket after the suspect began beating a K-9 during an arrest earlier this year, according to the police department.
The department reported on Thursday that it was releasing more information about the arrest after the footage had been shared on social media.
Police said the arrest happened on April 8 around 2:10 a.m. after the department received a burglary report from a local car dealership.
The caller said that a man armed with a tennis racket had been burglarizing a vehicle, prompting officers to respond to the scene, police added.
Upon arrival, a K-9 officer began searching for the suspect — later identified as 57-year-old Richard O’Donnell — eventually finding him nearby with the tennis racket still in hand, investigators explained.
In a release, police said that O’Donnell ignored orders from the officer, causing the officer to release a K-9 — named “Vezer” — to catch O’Donnell.
The release shows that O’Donnell began kicking Vezer, beating him with the racket and locking his legs around Vezer’s neck, potentially choking him to death.
As a result, the officer took the tennis racket and used it against O’Donnell to stop him from choking Vezer, video shows. The police department confirmed that using “improvised weapons” is allowed, and police stated that it was “the safest choice for everyone involved.”
Eventually, the officer was able to “disentangle” Vezer from O’Donnell’s grip, though he continued to resist arrest even after backup officers arrived, police said.
An affidavit says that O’Donnell was Tasered and ultimately taken into custody, being taken to the hospital after the arrest to be treated for his injuries.
O’Donnell continues to face charges of burglary in this case, which is still in progress with the State Attorney’s Office, police said.
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