Man flees police, assaults K-9 deputy

It’s all part of the job for Rocky.

Enforcers of the law know when they step on duty they are putting themselves in harm’s way. There’s no exception for Rocky, Manatee County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.

At about 10:20 p.m. Aug. 27, the Bradenton Police Department radioed the pursuit of a tan Dodge Caravan on Cortez Road in west Bradenton, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report stated.

Moments after the announcement, the Caravan was spotted by an MCSO deputy at the intersection of 75th Street and Cortez Road. MCSO pursued the Caravan, which was traveling westbound on Cortez. The Caravan turned onto 123rd Street West in Cortez, where the driver bailed from the moving vehicle.

The Caravan slowly rolled to a stop and did not cause any damage, the report said.

MCSO deputies set a perimeter, and both a K-9 deputy and watch unit closed in on the area. The suspect was found underneath a home in the 12200 block of 45th Avenue by Rocky the K-9, according to the report.

When Rocky latched onto the man’s leg, the man began striking the canine.

The report stated that more deputies converged on the area and arrested Meren Thompson, 42, of Sarasota.

Dave Bristow, MCSO’s public information officer, said Rocky did not sustain any injuries. K-9 units do get assaulted, but not very often because typically suspects do not resist, he added.

Thompson faces charges of auto theft, driving with a suspended license, fleeing to elude law enforcement, resisting arrest and striking a police canine.

Thompson is being held in the Manatee County jail. He was arrested Aug. 18 for domestic battery and forfeited his bond for the case.

He is scheduled for a court appearance Sept. 12.

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