An Oakland Raiders player is facing a criminal investigation after a police K-9 handler said the linebacker taunted his dog before the team’s game Sunday against in Pittsburgh.
Ray-Ray Armstrong barked at the K-9 in the tunnel at Heinz Field in the moments before the Raiders took the field to play the Steelers, police told WTAE-TV.
Armstrong, 24, is being investigated by the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office. The dog was with his K-9 partner, a sheriff’s deputy, when the incident occurred, according to police. Investigators are reviewing video from the stadium, which has not been released.
Armstrong and the Raiders have not yet commented on the investigation.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Armstrong Pounded on His Chest & Began Barking at Bandit the Dog, Police Say
Police say Armstrong lifted up his shirt, beat his chest and then started barking and yelling at the police dog before the start of the Raiders game against the Steelers on Sunday, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
The dog, Bandit, was with his handler, Deputy Maria Watts:
“We were immediately notified about the incident, and we immediately initiated a criminal investigation into the matter. Sheriff’s Office supervisors interviewed witnesses and reviewed video surveillance recordings at Heinz Field. We notified the District Attorney’s Office on Sunday. The Sheriff’s Office is currently reviewing all of the information and reports to make a final determination relating to charges,” Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus said in a statement.
2. Taunting a Police Dog Is a Felony Charge in Pennsylvania
It is a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania to taunt a police animal, including dogs and horses, according to state law.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree,” the law states.
The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years and a possible fine of up to $15,000.
3. Armstrong Was Fined Last Week for a Hit on Jets’ Quarterback Geno Smith
Armstrong was fined by the NFL last week for a hit on New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, according to Pro Football Talk. He was not flagged for unnecessary roughness after the play last Sunday.
The hit in the fourth quarter of the Raiders win against the Jets knocked Smith out of the game for two plays, forcing New York to re-insert starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had injured his thumb earlier in the game.
Armstrong was fined $17,363. He is earning $585,000 this year.
4. He Has Been in the NFL Since 2013 After Signing With the Rams as an Undrafted Free Agent
Armstrong was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. He has played 52 games in his career, with 44 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble, according to NFL.com.
The Raiders claimed Armstrong off waivers in October 2014 after he was released by the Rams.
5. He Was Kicked Off the University of Miami Football Team in 2012
Armstrong, a High School All-American from Sanford Florida as both a quarterback and a safety, was dismissed from the University of Miami football team in 2012. The university said he was dismissed for being dishonest during an internal investigation, ESPN reported at the time.
According to ESPN, Armstrong, who played for three seasons with the Hurricanes, was suspended for four games because he broke NCAA rules by accepting gifts from a former Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro.
Armstrong transferred to Faulkner University, a NAIA school, to play his senior season, but was declared ineligible because of the discipline he received at Miami.