Charges have been brought against two former Maine police officers who allegedly attacked and killed several porcupines with their batons.
The alleged attacks on porcupines were first mentioned when another cop reported the two officers to department superiors in August, sparking an investigation. It was later revealed that an estimate of 11 porcupines had been killed between Addison Cox and Michael Rolerson, according to Gazette.
Among several Rockland police officers’ interviewed last month by Game Warden investigator Kevin Anderson, one stated that he witnessed Rolerson hop out of a vehicle to beat a porcupine. Others revealed that a video shared with a Snapchat group of officers showed him beating something on the ground, yelling, “I got him,” followed by a picture of a dead porcupine.
Both Cox and Rolerson admitted to murdering multiple porcupines when they spoke with Anderson, while also expressing regret over the decision. One of the officers also revealed that he would occasionally pepper-spray porcupines.
Last week, both Cox and Rolerson were charged with animal cruelty.
“These porcupines were in their natural habitat and causing no harm,” Officer Anne Griffith wrote in an Aug. 29 statement to her supervisor after learning about the incidents, according to the Gazette. “Officer Rolerson not only chased the animal in the woods to kill it but returned with a smile on his face and appeared as though he enjoyed it.”
Rolerson and Cox served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps. Rolerson informed Anderson that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his time in the service and viewed porcupines as a “nuisance, although he doesn’t necessarily dislike them.”
The officers were both fired on Sept.22 before being slapped with Class C aggravated animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of night hunting or hunting after dark. Cox was also charged with unlawful use or possession of implements or aids, while Rolerson was charged with illuminating wild animals or birds. The officer accused of posting the Snapchat video, Kenneth Smith, is on administrative leave.
According to reports, Cox and Rolerson are appealing their terminations. They are both scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 9.
The city’s police chief, Chris Young, released a Facebook post on Sep. 30 regarding the allegations and termination surrounding Cox and Rolerson.