Two former police officers in Rockland, Maine, are facing charges after allegedly beating multiple porcupines to death while on duty.
Addison Cox, 27, and Michael Rolerson, 30, were fired from the Rockland Police Department (RPD) and are facing charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, Law & Crime reported. The officers allegedly beat the animals and shared the evidence on social media, according to the Bangor Daily News.
“One apparent beating was posted to Snapchat groups — RPD Underground and the Night Crew — used by Rockland police primarily to share family photos to boost morale. In the video, Rolerson beat something on the ground with his baton, saying ‘I got it’ as he returned to his cruiser. A photo of a dead porcupine was then posted,” Bangor Daily News wrote, citing an investigative report obtained by The Courier Gazette.
Some of the porcupines were pepper sprayed before and after being beaten, Rolerson reportedly told his co-workers.
“Residents of the city of Rockland recently were victimized by an individual breaking into their homes and stealing valuable items in the middle of the night,” Sergeant Scott Redmun II said according to The Gazette. “During this time, you have uniformed officers on the Bog Road brutally torturing and killing innocent animals.”
Officer Kenneth Smith has been placed on administrative leave after reportedly posting a video of the brutality. However, he denies this allegation, Law & Crime reported.
— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) October 6, 2020
Rolerson and Cox admitted that they killed the porcupines while speaking with an investigator, the Gazette reported, citing a warden’s report. Both officers said they regretted their actions and Rolerson said porcupines were rodents and would always damage his camp. Rolerson also said porcupines were a pain on the road and that he has post traumatic stress disorder from serving in Afghanistan, the Gazette reported.
Cox looked up to his colleague, wanted to be like him and also served in Afghanistan, according to the newspaper, which cited the the report. (RELATED: Texas Officer Charged With Murder For Fatally Shooting Jonathan Price)
“Not only are these acts in violation of law and policy, they are also a disturbing representation of his character made known to his fellow officers, especially those who witnessed the events,” Officer Anne Griffith said in a previous statement reported by the Gazette. “Several of the officers, if not all, were lower in rank than Officer Rolerson.”
“This was not dispatching a deer that was hit by a car, this was not dispatching a pest animal that may be a threat to humans or domesticated animals. These porcupines were in their natural habitat and causing no harm. Officer Rolerson not only chased the animal into the woods to kill it, but returned with a smile on his face and appeared as though he enjoyed it,” she continued, adding that she is “sickened and embarrassed” by the actions.