A special City Commission meeting on the Gainesville Police Department’s K-9 unit was postponed for the second time Wednesday.
The meeting was billed as a “Discussion on K-9 Units,” giving community members the opportunity to voice concerns about a leg of local law enforcement that’s been beset by controversy.
Desmon Duncan-Walker, a city commissioner whose district encompasses most of East Gainesville, said the meeting was postponed because she was out sick. The meeting was originally slated for Sept. 20 before getting delayed to Wednesday. It’s now scheduled for Nov. 15 — almost two full after it was originally scheduled — according to the city’s agenda.
The meeting wasn’t held on its original date because of a county meeting that would have prevented it from being live-streamed, Duncan-Walker said.
Duncan-Walker didn’t want residents to have to choose between the meetings, she said, and sought to ensure the K-9 meeting could be broadcasted for accessibility purposes.
The cancellation came as city residents are still grappling with the July mauling of Terrell Bradley, a 31-year-old Black man, by a GPD K-9. Bradley, who fled from a traffic stop after allegedly striking a police officer, was pursued by a K-9 as law enforcement tried to catch him. Bradley lost his right eye as he was apprehended by the dog.
The case inspired community activism and calls for police accountability.
The K-9 unit is also facing allegations of internal racism from a former officer. Edward Ratliff, a 13-year GPD veteran, alleged he encountered racial hostility during his time on the force, including uses of the n-word by other officers, in a federal lawsuit.
Contact Omar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @OAteyah.
Omar Ateyah is a third-year journalism student and the Alligator's Race and Equity reporter. He previously served as the Alligator's crime reporter and as a news assistant on the Metro Desk. He enjoys going on long, thoughtful walks.