Boca Raton Police Arrest Parent Following Elementary Halloween Party At St. Joan of Arc. But Did Police Go Too Far?
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — David Morrison has a few traffic tickets to his name, but his arrest for child abuse following a Halloween party at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Boca Raton is so out of character, it is raising questions about why Boca Raton Police took the dad of three young children into custody.
A series of interviews conducted by BocaNewsNow.com raises serious questions about the arrest, and whether Boca Raton police overreacted to an unfortunate — but not felonious — situation.
The annual Halloween party at St. Joan of Arc on October 29th was chaos — as most elementary school parties tend to be. During the event, David Morrison’s young daughter was hit by a boy in a dinosaur costume. She fell to the ground. As parents do, Morrison reacted by trying to help and comfort his daughter while also stopping the dinosaur-clad child from hurting other kids.
From the police report filed by Boca Raton Police:
“A lot of children were grabbing the tail (of the boy in the dinosaur costume). Due to an unknown child grabbing his tail, (the boy) turned around and accidentally hit a little girl in the face which caused her to fall down.”
That little girl was David Morrison’s daughter. Again, from the police report — based on a claim by the child in the dinosaur costume:
“(The boy said) that David came up to him and started to yell at him about intentionally hitting the little girl in the face. David started to curse and yell at the boy to take off his costume. (The boy claimed) that while he was trying to unzip his costume, David was grabbing his costume as well trying to get it off of him. Once the costume was pulled down, David then grabbed both of his shoulders and squeezed them very tight and pulled him asking where his parents were.”
But in a huge group of parents, children, teachers, and Diocese staffers, only one witness is listed in the Boca Raton Police Department report. She didn’t speak with officers at the scene. Instead, police called her, after the event, to solicit her statement.
“I also spoke to an independent witness via landline, Jessica Soupart,” wrote the investigating officer. “Jessica advised that she observed David yelling at (the boy) to take his costume off and saw him forcefully trying to pull the boy’s costume off. Jessica then stated that she observed David put his hands on the boy’s shoulders “viciously” and was asking him where his parents were and started to pull him away while holding his shoulders. Jessica mentioned at this point, she stepped in and told David to take his hands off of the child, in which he did.”
Boca Raton Officer Was At Party, But Saw Nothing.
Boca Raton Police, relying on the telephoned statement of just one witness, is notable. A Boca Raton Police officer was working a “detail” at the Halloween party but apparently saw nothing. The boy who claimed he was injured told the “detail” officer what happened, and that officer called for assistance. Boca Raton Police officers wear bodycams. There is no mention of a bodycam actually capturing the “abuse” incident on camera.
Even so, Boca Raton Police arrested Morrison at his SW 13th Street Home hours after the Halloween party. They locked him in handcuffs in front of his three young children, ages 3, 6, and 8. They charged him with Child Abuse — a life-ruining charge.
David Morrison’s defense attorney, Brandon Dinetz, said he believes the office of State Attorney David Aronberg is now reviewing the case. He limited his comment to a short statement: “I hope they do not file.”
David Aronberg’s office does not comment on active cases. The Boca Raton Police Department also defers comment on active cases. But the police report itself is notable: several lines involving the actual arrest are seemingly redacted.
The Diocese of Palm Beach County did not respond to a request for comment. St. Joan of Arc is a Diocese school. Among its graduates: David Morrison, now facing a child abuse charge after an incident involving a dinosaur costume.
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