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In Rattray’s pockets, police found a $1 bill, a necklace, a stone ring, and a pack of fake eyelashes. Long before his day in court, Rattray paid a bloody price (warning: graphic image).
Anthony Rattray, 19, was hospitalized for two days with severe bites to his upper arm from a Coral Springs police K-9 that was used to detain him.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said it’s unfair to blame law enforcement officers “who are doing this very risky task.” He said serious crimes tend to occur in communities with socio-economic struggles, where people might not have access to proper housing or education. If deputies go where the crime is, and crime is more concentrated in some struggling communities of color, then it stands to reason that deputies would encounter more Black suspects with their K-9s, he said.
“What about all the other variables that impact crime patterns and trends?” Tony asked. “There is a heck of a lot more that has to take place and it’s not just law enforcement.”
Sgt. Emmanuel Koutsofios, who leads BSO’s K-9 patrol unit, and Sgt. Paul Cristafaro, leader of Fort Lauderdale Police K-9s, said dogs are the best de-escalator police have because most suspects surrender in fear.
At the same time, some of the people bitten by dogs told the Sun Sentinel that fear of the police is what made them run. And, like their dogs, the police are trained to chase those who run.
But experts say Black suspects have rational reasons to flee, and it shouldn’t be chalked up as an admission of guilt.
“Running doesn’t always denote guilt,” said Dr. Andrea Boyles, a sociologist at Tulane University who studies police. “That (running) is about distrust and that is about a longstanding history, that is well known in the Black and brown community, of police misconduct.”