A Florida neighborhood is in uproar after a Black man lost an eye during a traffic stop and arrest that involved a police dog. The man’s father, an ex-department officer, believes excessive force was used on his son and that his former colleagues in some cases employ patrol dogs instead of guns.
According to WCJB, at least 100 people came on Sunday, July 17, to protest the way the Gainesville Police Department deployed a member of its K-9 unit during Terrell Bradley’s arrest.
Protesters marched from the Santa Fe Blount Center to GPD headquarters at 545 NW 8th Ave, wearing eye patches with Bradley’s name and chanting “stop brutalizing Black people.”
“No justice, no peace,” they chanted in unison, and “Whose streets? “These are our streets.”
Danielle Chanzes, a local community activist who opposes social inequality, coordinated the march. She has also been a main source for the community, offering updates on the case.
“I was appalled because I knew it was horrible, I heard it was bad, but when I saw how bad it was, I was just so startled, and I knew we had to let the rest of the community see,” she explained.
Ashley Burke, a US Army soldier and Bradley’s cousin, stated, “I did not serve my country for my cousin to be disrespected.”
“This man will never look the same or be the same.”
Terrell Bradley’s aunt, Belinda Gorman, described what happened to her nephew as “sickening.” “The dog simply mauled his face off,” the aunt added. My sister is in excruciating pain.”
According to police, Bradley committed a traffic infraction around 10:40 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, then fled the scene of the Sweetwater Square Apartments near the junction of Northeast 15th Street and 39th Avenue, after GPD officers attempted to stop him.
Officers stated that they plainly saw Bradley with contraband and engaging in “suspicious behavior,” such as reaching down towards the floorboard. According to the police complaint, Bradley was requested to step out of his car and was patted down before leaving the scene on foot from the detained cops.
According to The Gainesville Sun, police inspected the vehicle and discovered the man’s identification card as well as a stolen, loaded handgun and ammo to fit it.
When his name was ran through the system, it was determined that he had a past felony record, prompting them to ask for backup, including a K-9 unit, to search for the suspect, whom they suspected was dangerous.
“Alachua County court records reveal Bradley was convicted of robbery in 2010; he was also convicted of drug equipment possession in 2012 and 2015,” Alligator’s Omar Ateyah uncovered.
Officers looked for him for an hour and employed a dog to find him before detaining him.
When the K-9 found him hiding in the bushes, it attacked him, mauling him in the face and causing injuries that resulted in Bradley losing his right eye, according to accounts.
The GPD issued a statement on Saturday saying the force was investigating the incident but that the use of the K-9 was routine protocol for the department.
Those who attended the event the next day thought the arrest was out of the ordinary.
According to Chanae Jackson, she has been working with the family and interviewing with witnesses to the aggressive arrest. She released graphic photographs of the man’s wounds on social media, prompted by a shared indignation, and provided a different narrative.
Jackson claims that an officer, not the dogs, discovered Bradley first. The dog was on a leash during the incident, according to GPD, but Jackson says it not only ripped through the man’s hands but also latched on to his eye and dragged it out of its socket, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Jackson also claimed Bradley yelled for help from the officers, but they did not respond in a timely manner.
The GPD disputes this point, claiming that “officers noticed harm to the driver and EMS was immediately called and responded.” The driver was taken to the hospital by ambulance.”
Bradley was initially treated at the UF Health Shands facility but was subsequently evacuated to Tampa General Hospital at the doctors’ request.
When the individual landed in Tampa, surgeons removed his eye. He was placed in Hillsborough County jail on Wednesday, July 13, following the operation and postoperative care, and is now awaiting transit to the Alachua County Jail.
According to court documents, he is facing six accusations, including carrying a concealed weapon and an unlicensed handgun; possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana; theft of a firearm; violently resisting an officer; and possessing a weapon by a convicted felon.
A demonstration over Bradley’s terrible circumstances, alleging racial profiling and excessive force when he was stopped over, drew out the man’s friends and family to seek justice.
His father, Victor Bradley, who served in the GPD, believes the police does not employ K-9 units correctly and that when he was on active duty in the 1990s, he exclusively saw them deployed against Black guys.
“I have been in situations where I saw they haven’t used K-9 favorably. I believe they’re just an extension of a gun on a lease,” the father told WCJB. “Unfortunately, some of the officers they’ve trained have. They believe that the dog’s reward is to be able to bite.”
He wants officers to be held more accountable for how they use canines in arrest procedures, and he believes that citizens should speak up to local lawmakers.
The man’s cousin, Tevin Bradley, told the station, “That cop in command of that K-9 was dismissed of his responsibilities, as were the officers that racially profiled him and pulled him over for no reason.” I want him to be relieved of his responsibilities as well, nothing more, nothing less.”
“I love him so much,” Tevin added before calling him a “brother” and providing an update. “I spoke with him, and he is pleased that people are banding together to promote awareness.”
Burke also believes that the charges should be withdrawn because of everything he has gone through throughout this experience.
“He’s lost enough,” she remarked. He went blind when it wasn’t even necessary. I believe they penalized him for doing so. You’re going to mutilate him, take his eye, and then try to punish him with jail time or something else? That is not correct.”
Police Chief Lonnie Scott said his agency is investigating the event, adding that the review process, which includes pictures, body-worn and dash cameras and is led by GPD authorities, may take 7 to 10 days.