GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The felon who was mauled by a police K9 last year after fleeing from a minor traffic stop and lost his eye in the gruesome attack has signaled to the judge he is ready to change his plea from not guilty to criminal charges in the case.
This week, his attorney, Curtis Lee, told a judge that Terrell Marquis Bradley, 32, of Gainesville, wanted to change his plea during a case management hearing at the Alachua County Courthouse.
“We’ve reached a resolution for this case,” Lee said as he stood next to his client at the defense stand.
Judge David Kreider, however, said he was too busy with other cases that day to take the plea and postponed Bradley’s case to a Tuesday when he usually tends to change of pleas.
“See you back on Sept. 26 at 9 o’clock in the morning,” Judge Kreider told Bradley and his attorney.
And Lee is ready.“This is something that my client wants to do,” Lee said to WUFT. “I think we are pretty much there, and if [the judge] was willing to do it yesterday, we could have finished it up.”
“But it’s not done ’til it’s done,” Lee said.
Bradley, who has since been released, remains free on electronic monitoring and waits for his day in court. Bradley is charged in the incident in July 2022 with a misdemeanor of resisting arrest and three felonies: possessing a gun as a felon, carrying a concealed firearm and battery on a police officer.
Prosecutors have not agreed to a plea deal with recommendations for a criminal sentence, said a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, Darry Lloyd. He said there have been ongoing conversations to try to resolve the case with Bradley’s lawyer, who did not immediately return phone messages or emails Wednesday or Thursday.
The defense lawyer’s request means that Bradley is prepared to enter a plea openly without assurances from prosecutors of a favorable outcome for him or that Bradley – whose father is a former police officer – believes a plea deal is close and can be finalized before Sept. 26. Bradley’s lawyer could also withdraw his request to change his plea and face a criminal trial, tentatively scheduled for later this year.
Bradley, who has been working full time at a box store since his arrest and checks in regularly with a court officer, also could not be reached to discuss his legal strategies. He has no listed telephone number and phone numbers listed on his arrest records were disconnected. He also did not return messages left with family or friends.
Bradley has lost some key rulings in the criminal case, so far: The judge, David Kreider, has indicated he is likely to agree to a request by prosecutors to prohibit mention of Bradley’s injuries or the dog bite during a trial. Kreider said he was confused about arguments that police using the dog showed racial bias toward Bradley.
“How is the fact that he was bit by the dog and he suffered this injury relevant to the criminal offenses the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt?” Kreider asked during a hearing in December. He added: “I’m about to exclude the dog bite unless you can convince me to show how it shows bias.”
Kreider also has refused repeated requests to compel answers to questions under oath from the police officer who pulled over Bradley the night of the incident, which the prosecutor has described as efforts to deliberately delay the case.
Bradley’s injury and findings from an internal investigation by the Gainesville Police Department sparked outrage across the community about the use of police dogs in such cases and flippant remarks by some of the officers involved that night.
The night of the incident, one officer, Matthew Shott, messaged the officer who initially pulled over Bradley in the traffic stop, “I heard tonight you bit someone’s eye off,” and added, “I saw the pictures BRAVO.”
That officer, Andrew Milman, wrote, “It was the nastiest thing ever his eye was split open and just hanging outside of his face,” and later added, “Maybe if these stories get around criminals will stop running from me.” When Shott expressed hope that wouldn’t happen, Milman replied, “lol I was about to say that would take the fun out of this job.”
The police K9, Ranger, had been the subject of warnings that he was prone to bite even fellow police officers. Ranger’s handler, Cpl. Josh Meurer, warned his fellow officers that, “he doesn’t care, he’ll grab anybody.” He later told investigators he meant that, if Ranger was tracking a scent, he would not necessarily recognize a police uniform or discriminate between an officer and a suspect.
Bradley, who had been convicted in a felony robbery case in 2010, fled a traffic stop on foot after a brief conversation with Milman, who had pulled him over. After he fled, police found a stolen, loaded pistol wedged between the driver’s seat and center console and ammunition in the trunk.
After a 43-minute search that night that extended to the grounds of nearby apartments, Ranger growled and charged into bushes where Bradley was lying. After Ranger found and bit Bradley in the bushes, Bradley yelled, “He got me, bro, I’m done,” and said, “Get your dog,” according to police body-cam video from that night.
Meurer was forced twice to use a “breaker bar” – a metal rod inserted in the dog’s jaws – to pry loose Ranger, police said.
The department disciplined five officers in the case. Three took and shared inappropriate photos of Bradley’s injury and were given written warnings. Milman and Shott made inappropriate comments about Bradley’s injuries over the department’s internal messaging system and were suspended for 40 hours without pay and ordered to undergo additional training, the department said.
Gainesville police separately commissioned an outside review by a Miami-based police consulting group of the officers’ actions that night. Like the department’s own review, it exonerated police and largely blamed Bradley’s own conduct: “Mr. Bradley made the choice to conceal himself from the officers and he could have prevented any contact with K9 Ranger by allowing the officers to know where he was hiding,” the outside review said. “There were 45 minutes he had the opportunity to surrender, although Mr. Bradley chose not to surrender and caused the search.”
This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing email@example.com.