There is a name in psychology for people who intentionally harm animals for their own enjoyment. It is referred to as deliberate animal cruelty and torture and has its own initialism, IATC. Psychologists have long researched the reasons why someone would deliberately hurt an animal, and the kinds of individuals that engage in this activity are often the most heinous members of society. Therefore, it should raise some red flags when two police officers beat porcupines to death with their batons while another records it.
Two policemen who videotaped themselves bashing porcupines to death were finally brought to justice last week — kind of. Two former Rockland police officers were sentenced to prison on Thursday for fatally striking a dozen porcupines with their batons while on duty.
While it is commonly known those police officers routinely murder dogs, many people are unaware that policemen also kill a large number of small animals in cruel ways.
Two Rockland police officers were arrested in October on charges of animal cruelty after torturing and bashing numerous porcupines to death – for amusement. Additionally, the animal cruelty charges were followed by numerous night hunting offenses for the manner and timing of the animals' deaths.
Addison Cox, 27, of Warren, and Michael A. Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont, were both charged with Class C aggravated animal cruelty and a misdemeanor offense of night hunting on Oct. 2. Additionally, Cox faces a misdemeanor charge of illegal use or possession of tools or assistance. Rolerson was accused for lighting wild animals or birds, a misdemeanor.
Cop Kenneth Smith, a third officer, was not prosecuted nor dismissed despite videotaping the incident and sharing it with other police through Snapchat. Smith is now on administrative leave after another incident, according to the department. Smith is suspected of uploading a video of Rolerson murdering a porcupine on Snapchat in June 2020, according to the Village Soup.
The criminal charges were withdrawn, and each officer was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty and night hunting, followed by swift wrist slaps.
The Press Herald reports:
Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in prison, with the remainder suspended except for 20 days. He was also sentenced to six months probation and a $1,000 fine.
Cox was sentenced to 90 days in prison, with the remainder suspended except for ten days. He was sentenced to six months administrative release and fined $1,000.
Although there were several cops in the Snapchat group, it seems as if just one policeman considered bashing innocent porcupines to death to be sufficiently awful to report.
According to Village Soup:
According to one officer, the majority of pictures shared on the Snapchat groups were of family members and were done to improve morale, which had dipped since the COVID-19 epidemic hit.
In early June, a video surfaced showing Rolerson hitting something on the ground with his baton before returning to the cruiser and declaring, "I got him." A picture of a dead porcupine was then shared. According to Rolerson and another officer, Smith uploaded the video.
During an interview with the investigator, Smith denied uploading the video but admitted to posting several pictures to the Snapchat groups. Once a Snapchat video has been seen, it vanishes.
Another officer testified that he was in a cruiser with Rolerson on Bog Road in Rockland at the time when Rolerson abruptly slammed on the brakes, rushed out of the vehicle, left the door open, and beat a porcupine.
The other officer indicated to the investigator that he was at a loss for what to do.
Rolerson admitted to other police that he sometimes pepper sprayed porcupines before to or after hitting them.
The fact that the whistleblower officer, Anne Griffith, who brought up the accusations, was alone in her position exemplifies the issue of police protecting their own. None of the other officers who saw the killing, saw the recordings, or were aware of it said a word.
“Not only are these actions against the law and policy, but they also serve as a troubling reflection of his character to his fellow officers, particularly those who saw the incidents. Several, if not all, of the officers were lower in rank than Officer Rolerson.
“This was not the case when a deer was struck by a vehicle; this was not the case when a pest animal posed a danger to people or domesticated animals was dispatched. These porcupines were roaming freely in their native environment and posed no threat. Officer Rolerson not only pursued the animal into the woods to kill it, but returned with a grin on his face and seemed to enjoy it,” Officer Griffith wrote to her supervisor on Aug. 29.
“I am disgusted and humiliated by Officer Rolerson's, Officer Cox's, and Officer Smith's conduct. Officer Griffith said at the time, "I am embarrassed that their acts were seen or known by younger, less experienced police."
It wasn't just those two porcupines however; Rolerson believed he killed eight porcupines throughout the trial, while Cox said he killed three.
According to Knox County District Attorney Natasha Irving, the cops escaped with a slap on the wrist since they both served in the USMC and were getting treatment for PTSD at the VA. Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee also used the officers' community work as a justification for the lenient punishment.
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