ALAMEDA – Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong is being investigated for allegedly taunting a working police dog before Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that they are investigating the incident, which occurred before kickoff, in a corridor of Heinz Field. He allegedly lifted his shirt and barked at the dog as he headed toward the playing field.
Sheriffs would not identify the player directly, but Armstrong is the player being looked at.
Armstrong declined comment on the matter Tuesday at the Raiders facility. The team is not expected to comment. The sheriff’s office told the Raiders and Steelers about the incident.
A spokesman for the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation is in its preliminary stages, and the office should decide whether to pursue it further or press charges in roughly a week.
This sounds like a strange incident to pursue, but taunting a police animal is considered a third-degree felony in the state of Pennsylvania and carries the possibility of a jail sentence and a maximum $15,000 fine.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that there is surveillance video of the incident, and that it has been reviewed.
"Legally, he could have been arrested on the spot," Chief Deputy Kraus told the Post-Gazette. "We believed that there was sufficient probable cause to make an arrest."
An arrest did not happen, and Armstrong played Sunday’s game without issue. He played 12 defensive snaps and several more on special teams. He was also credited with a quarterback pressure.
Lincoln Kennedy, former NFL offensive lineman and current sideline reporter for Raiders radio broadcasts, said during a Tuesday appearance on 95.7-FM in San Francisco that the police dog went "psycho" and barked at Armstrong and the handler had to pull the dog back.
Jack Del Rio said on his weekly SiriusXM Radio show that he hadn't spoken to Armstrong about the incident, and while he understands the importance of the law protecting police animals, it doesn't fit well here.
"I've caught wind of this story. I'm going to put it in the silly category," Del Rio told SiriusXM NFL radio. "I think once the facts come to light I don't think there's going to be much of an issue. I wouldn't make too much of it."