Florida dad who used 1-yr-old son as human shield tased and bitten by K9 before child is reunited with mom
FLAGLER COUNTY, FLORIDA: After a recent incident with law enforcement in Flagler County, Florida, a video purportedly shows a man using his one-year-old child as a shield. Brandon Matthew Douglas Leohner, 27, is accused of resisting an officer during an arrest, aggravated assault, child maltreatment, kidnapping and using a child as a human shield, according to the arrest documents. He has been taken into custody by the police.
Leohner is seen holding the infant in front of his chest in the shocking bodycam footage of the incident recorded by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. The situation started, according to a press statement, at around 6 pm on September 27 when they got a report regarding a potential kidnapping involving a one-year-old. Initial reports of Leohner taking the child while carrying a firearm and then driving off with the child in his lap prompted the Flagler County Sheriff's Office to respond. Deputies found a man speeding into oncoming traffic and driving through medians shortly after that. The man sped away from the scene despite officials' attempts to stop him, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. Eventually, the 27-year-old drove into a McDonald's parking lot and jumped out of the vehicle holding the infant, as per Daily Mail.
Leohner is captured on bodycam video hugging the child close to his chest just outside the drive-thru window as at least three deputies come up to him. A policeman with a K-9 unit is being held by one of the deputies shown in the video. Leohner is repeatedly instructed to put the child on the ground by law police personnel, but he refuses. One of the deputies screams, "Put the baby down, put the kid down." But Leohner continues to disregard the requests made by law enforcement. The officer whose bodycam video was released is seen bringing out his taser and pointing it at the man while another deputy says "get on the ground now."
The child, who is only wearing a diaper and a top, is being grabbed onto with one arm while being raised several feet off the ground. To shield himself from the cops, Leohner keeps holding him in front of his chest and head. A taser is effectively used by the deputy seen on body cam footage to subdue the man who is brought to the ground in front of a vehicle in the drive-thru queue by just a few inches. As the infant sobs "dada," deputies come in to hastily remove the youngster from Leohner's arms. While remaining in the McDonald's parking lot, the man manages to elude the deputies and flee until being eventually tackled to the ground. As the victim begs them to stop, a K-9 bites him at the end of the arrest video.
Upon hearing his request, deputies warn him to refrain from resisting arrest. “Our deputies did everything they could to quickly rescue this child safely from a madman and apprehend the suspect. Fortunately, the child was not hurt and was quickly reunited with his mother,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly as reported by Daily Mail. “Here is a case of a domestic situation turning violent, putting a one-year-old child and innocent drivers in danger. Deputies were confronted with a very chaotic situation and a very combative individual that was putting his child at risk by using the child as a shield.” In order to receive medical attention for his wounds, the 27-year-old was transferred to a neighboring hospital. He was then driven to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility as he is being detained without bail while awaiting trial.