Gainesville Police Department (GPD) Chief Lonnie Scott said Thursday that the K-9 officer who tracked down Terrell Bradley on July 10 acted in accordance with department policy and industry standards.
Speaking at a press conference, Scott said the full investigation, including an internal report, an external report prepared by an outside firm, and all of the body camera footage, will now be available to the public. GPD’s threshold for activating a K-9 unit and the units bite ratio remain above industry standards, according to Scott.
GPD released a 25-minute video with body camera footage and explanations after the meeting. It is available here on YouTube.
“In every response-to-resistance technique utilized, injury is possible. But it is never the intent of our officers to injure anyone we encounter. Regrettably, Mr. Bradley was significantly injured,” Scott says at the end of the video.
In 2021, GPD deployed the K-9 team 129 times with 12 bites coming as a result. Scott noted that other departments send K-9 units for misdemeanors and other calls.
The incident resulted in the loss of Bradley’s right eye and prompted outrage by community members who held rallies as GPD started an investigation. According to GPD, the department always follows up with investigations on injuries caused by K-9s.
At the press conference, Scott gave background on the incident, noting that GPD has received a high number of calls from the area around Sweetwater Square Apartments and NE 15th Street. GPD first tried to stop Bradley after he failed to stop while exiting the apartment complex.
“We have been in communications with community members who are concerned about the violent crime that is occurring in and around their apartment complex of Sweetwater Square Apartments,” Scott said in a video played at the conference.
From Jan. 1 to July 10, 2022, GPD has received 373 calls for service from the neighborhood, including eight shots fired, two armed robberies and two people being shot. Scott said GPD has battled gun crime for a while now. With community support, GPD instructed officers to be more visible and has tried to crack down on traffic violations in the area.
Scott said the department has confiscated 251 stolen firearms from Jan. 1 to Aug. 13, 2022—many of those found during traffic stops.
“The gun violence: that’s what’s pushing all this quite frankly,” Scott said.
Once the GPD officer activated his lights, Bradley slowed down but continued on NW 39th Avenue until turning into the Eden Park Apartments. The officer contacted Bradley at the car window and asked him to step out of the vehicle after seeing contraband and reporting suspicious behavior—trying to reach under the seat.
When Bradley exited, he elbowed the officer and fled on foot. Other officers arrived and searched the vehicle, finding a loaded handgun with an extended clip. The initial officer identified Bradley from a driver’s license he left behind.
GPD then learned that Bradley was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm. Scott said those criteria, along with Bradley remaining on the loose in a residential area, crossed GPD’s threshold for a K-9 unit response.
When the K-9 responded, the dog began sniffing in the shrubbery and AC units around the building on a 15-foot leash. After a snarl and yell, the officer directed Bradley to show his hands and come out to him, Scott said.
“Until [the officer] heard Mr. Bradley yell, he had no idea he was actually there,” Scott said at the meeting.
Bradley continues yelling before saying: “He got me, bro. I’m done.”
Scott said GPD then continued protocol, keeping the K-9 close to control the suspect as officers moved in to place him in handcuffs. Once officers were around Bradley, the K-9 handler used a breaker bar to get the dog out of the way.
Bradley was found lying on his stomach, and Scott said once an officer saw his eye, he called for EMS. Within a minute, the officer upgraded the call for an EMS “Hot” which indicates an expedited need.
Scott noted that the officer made the initial call before Bradley was handcuffed because of the wound. Typically, officers make the call after the suspect is handcuffed.
Scott said the K-9s are trained to bite and hold. He said they don’t maul or tear but hold the arm or leg to restrain the suspect. He surmised that the dog first found Bradley’s head as he lay face down. The dog then bit at Bradley’s head before letting go and catching his hand which the K-9 held.
The K-9, currently suspended, will undergo some additional training before re-entering active service.
GPD paid $8,500 for an independent firm to investigate the incident. Scott highlighted a portion of the V-2 Global investigation.
“The traffic stop, response to resistance, search and use of Police K-9 for search, resulting in the apprehension of Mr. Bradley, was in compliance with Gainesville Police Department policy and protocols and within the law enforcement industry standards for the use of Police K-9 in this situation,” the report said.
Scott said the review of body camera footage showed other officer conduct that GPD would like to change. While waiting for the EMS to arrive, officers talked about unrelated topics and laughed concerning some.
Scott said, although the laughter was not related to Bradley or his situation, the department wants to crack down on that as part of its commitment to courtesy.
GPD staff also brought a separate incident to the internal affairs team. Scott said the two officers involved were suspended with pay on Thursday after he received the initial report.
Because of the active investigation, Scott couldn’t comment on the nature of the incident. He said the investigation would finish in the next two weeks, and then GPD would decide what would happen with the suspended officers.