The on-duty officers used their batons to slaughter the animals — videos of which were posted to Snapchat.
Two Maine police officers have been jailed for beating several porcupines to death with retractable batons while on-duty.
Michael A. Rolerson, 31, and 28-year-old Addison Cox were sentenced last Thursday, having been charged with misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and night hunting back in October. The incidents happened in June of last year, but didn’t come to light until the end of August when another officer found out what happened and reported them.
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“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,” Officer Anne Griffith wrote in her statement reporting them, per the Portland Press Herald.
“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.”
“I am sickened and embarrassed by the actions taken by Officer Rolerson, Officer Cox and Officer Smith. I am ashamed that their actions were witnessed or known by younger, less experienced officers.”
Both officers admitted slaughtering the animals to investigators, and expressed regret for their actions. Rolerson estimated he had killed eight, while Cox admitted killing three. The older officer claimed he didn’t do it because he disliked porcupines; rather they were rodents that got into his camp and caused damage, and that they were nuisances on the road.
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He admitted sometimes using pepper spray on them, either before or after beating them — and claimed he suffered from PTSD having served a tour in Afghanistan while in the Marines.
On Thursday, Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in jail, with all but 20 days suspended. He was also placed on probation for six months, and fined $1,000. Cox meanwhile sentenced to 90 days in jail, all but 10 days suspended. He was placed on administrative release for six months, and also fined $1,000.
Felony charges were dropped because of their record serving their country, and because they had accepted responsibility for their actions. According to the Assistant District Attorney, Cox was given the harsher sentence because he was more senior and had killed more animals.
Per the Courier-Gazette, Cox will be allowed serve his sentence on weekends, and with good behavior will spend a total of seven days behind bars. Rolerson meanwhile will begin his sentence in January.
Both officers were also fired.
A third officer, Kenneth Smith, was placed on administrative leave for allegedly filming the killings and posting them on Snapchat.
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