Bartow man claims police brutality, racism after video of arrest surfaces

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BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – The man at the center of a controversial video that’s sparking debate online is claiming police brutality and racism. 

Marquis Wright, 21, says Bartow police abused their power and treated him differently because of his race during an arrest Monday.

A neighbor captured a roughly 50 second video of the encounter at Wright’s home on Magnolia Street.

A K-9 officer can be seen biting Wright while he was on the ground with police.

Neighbors could be heard screaming in outrage.

Wright spoke with News Channel 8 for the first time Tuesday, shortly after getting out of jail.

His right thigh was bandaged due to bites from the dog, which caused him to walk with a limp, using a cane.

Wright said he was sitting on his porch when officers showed up. He asked police to stay on the other side of the fence and said the situation went downhill from there.

“They just asked for my information and that’s it,” Wright said.

Police tell us that Wright wouldn’t give them any information.

Officers were there to arrest his brother on a warrant, but tell us Wright matched the description.

Neither police nor Wright are providing many details about what happened next.

Wright said police abused their power and that it was his first encounter with the law.

“I had no record. No record at all,” Wright said.

Wright said officers used a Taser on him twice before they allowed a K-9 to bite him.

Deputy Chief Bryan Dorman said Wright was resisting and that’s why they used the dog. He said Wright was kicking toward officers.

“I don’t know anything about any resisting arrest. They took it too far,” Wright said.

Dorman said department leaders are investigating whether those officers did anything wrong.

“With the video that I saw and with the preliminary investigation that we have, I don’t have any reason to suspect that they were way out of policy or out of policy at all,” Dorman said.

Wright was charged with resisting arrest with and without violence.

Wright said the K-9 wasn’t necessary and he plans to sue the police department.

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