Terrell Bradley, 30, was pulled over by a Gainesville police officer for an "unspecified" traffic violation around 10:40 p.m. on July 10, according to authorities. The cop reportedly spotted "contraband" inside Bradley's car and noticed the driver reaching toward the floor. As a result, the officer asked Bradley to step out of the vehicle for a pat-down and search of the car.
Police say Bradley complied with the pat-down but that's when he took off running. The officer couldn't catch the 30-year-old immediately but kept searching his car, finding marijuana and a stolen loaded gun and ammunition under the driver's seat, officials claim.
Cops also found out he's a former felon, so when backup was called to search for Bradley, a police K-9 was brought in, too, reporters explain.
The K-9 "apprehended" Bradley while he was hiding in some bushes, but that's when the arrest got brutal. Reporters say the K-9 ripped Bradley's eye out of his socket, and the driver suffered bites to both his hands and body. Police say they called EMS and the driver was rushed to the hospital.
It was at the hospital that community activist Danielle Chanzes saw how horrific Bradley's injuries were. Photos circulating on social media show the 30-year-old man's head wrapped up in bandages, speckled with blood. On top of that, the activist alleges Gainesville Police has been mum about what happened to Bradley until the gruesome images appeared online.
"When Terrell’s traffic stop happened, yes ultimately they did find a gun in car, but that’s beside the point," Chanzes told VICE News. "Terrell didn’t feel safe, so he ran. I don’t think it's unreasonable for a Black man in America to run from police in a situation like that."
Over 100 demonstrators, some wearing eyepatches, took to the streets last weekend over the mauling. They've also demanded police release body camera footage, update its policy on K-9 use, terminate the K-9 handler and the police officer who pulled over Bradley, and never let that specific K-9 be deployed again, according to Chanzes.
“I’ve been in situations where I saw they haven’t used K-9 favorably,” Victor Bradley, the victim's father and former Gainesville police officer, said at the rally, per WCJB. “I think they’re just an extension, a gun on a leash. Unfortunately, some of the officers that they have training the dogs, they think the dog’s reward is being able to get a bite.”
In a statement released on July 16, Gainesville Police promises to be "transparent" as they review the situation. Reporters say the investigation kicked off on July 14 and may conclude within seven to ten days.
Bradley was booked into Hillsborough County Jail following his release from the hospital last week. On Tuesday (July 19), a judge ruled he would be allowed to await trial from home.
He faces four charges including two counts of firearm possession, possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis, and resisting an officer, according to an officer.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.