Dennis Murdock (Riviera Beach, Fla., Police Department)

A Florida man arrested on charges he spanked a 5-year-old girl so hard he left bruises expressed incredulity that his form of “discipline” was considered illegal, authorities say.

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The Palm Beach Post reports that Dennis Murdock, 25, of Riviera Beach, said he spanked the child after hearing that she had misbehaved in preschool, according to city police records. Bruises were found on the girl’s buttocks and thighs, according to the report.

“I can’t believe it’s illegal to whoop [a child],” Murdock told police, according to authorities.

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As the Post notes, it only takes one bruise for officers to have a probable cause of child abuse, according to city police spokesperson Rose Anne Brown. It is illegal to leave a physical mark on a child.

Murdock, who was arrested Feb. 6, was released later that day on his own recognizance, although he was ordered not to have any contact with minor children or the little girl he spanked. Murdock’s relationship to the little girl was unclear.

A woman who picked up the child Feb. 5 noticed four bruises on the child’s buttocks and two on her left thigh that seemed to have been caused by a belt, authorities said. The child had been with Murdock for the weekend.

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Murdock told police that he hadn’t wanted to hurt the girl, but wanted to teach her that acting out in school was not acceptable. Murdock said that he believed he used reasonable force and told authorities that he reminded the girl that he loved her after the spanking, the Post reports.

Read more at the Palm Beach Post.