NFL Player Could Go To Jail For Taunting Police Dog
There is no shortage of weird, wacky and sometimes scary pregame rituals practiced by football players in the NFL - but being mean to a dog shouldn't be one of them.
Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong is reportedly under investigation for allegedly taunting a sheriff's deputy K-9 named Banditt, who was on patrol for explosives ahead of an NFL game at Heinz Field in Pennsylvania on Sunday.
Before running onto the field, Armstrong allegedly lifted his shirt, pounded his chest, yelled and barked at the dog, according to Banditt's handler, Allegheny County sheriff's deputy Maria Watts.
"I have never seen anything like this," Watts said in an interview with news station WTAE, adding, "Bandit was very agitated. He wanted me to let him go. I imagine with his training and experience he would have gone to his target who was taunting him."
Watts took Banditt to her patrol car to cool off, after which she reported the incident to her supervisors.
While Armstrong might have thought he was merely getting pumped up for the game by being rude to the dog, his actions could have serious consequences.
"Legally, he could have been arrested on the spot," chief deputy Kevin Kraus told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We believed that there was sufficient probable cause to make an arrest."
Under state law, it is a third-degree felony to "willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal." Even though he didn't make contact with the animal, if convicted, Armstrong could face seven years in jail and a maximum fine of $15,000.
The investigation is ongoing, says Kraus.
"Sheriff's Office supervisors interviewed witnesses and reviewed video surveillance recordings at Heinz Field. We notified the District Attorney's Office on Sunday," he told CBS Sports. "The Sheriff's Office is currently reviewing all of the information and reports to make a final determination relating to charges."