Officers Beat Porcupines to Death
(ME) – Officers Michael A. Rolerson and Addison Cox, with the Rockland Police Department, were fired on September 22 after an investigation confirmed they had beaten porcupines to death on numerous occasions. They were charged for the crimes on October 2. According to Knox.VillageSoup.com, “A third officer, Officer Kenneth Smith (not Sgt. Kenneth Smith) is on administrative leave. Smith is accused of posting a video of Rolerson killing a porcupine in June.”
Rolerson, who was hired in 2018, appeared to enjoy killing the porcupines and claimed to have killed eight. Cox, who was hired in 2016, says he killed three porcupines. When the men would come across a porcupine while out on patrol, they would viciously beat it to death with their baton. Rolerson also bragged about pepper spraying the animals before and after the beating. Eventually, an officer reported the animal cruelty to superiors which kicked off the investigation.
Dominant Personality and Peer Pressure
Officer Rolerson was obviously a dominant personality. The 30 year old officer joined the Rockland Police Department in 2018 and would normally have been thought of as a rookie but the ex-marine was able to get less confident officers to not only stay quiet about what he was doing but even to look up to him. Officer Cox was one of them. Officer Cox is 27 but since he was hired in 2016, he would have been a senior officer to Rolerson. He, too, is an ex-marine and yet the following was reported in the Knox.VillageSoupr.com article, “Cox said he looked up to Rolerson and was trying to be like him.”
While most of the other officers stayed quiet, more than likely because they didn’t want to be labeled a snitch, Officer Cox fell completely under the spell of Rolerson. The extreme follower mentality can easily be seen in the change in Cox’s personality. “In 2017, he was hailed as the hero of wild animals. The officer helped return a baby raccoon to the woods, and helped a skunk that got its head stuck in a peanut butter jar.” Yet by the very next year, Officer Cox went from ‘hero of wild animals’ to someone who was willing to beat porcupines to death with his baton to gain the approval of the dominant.
Other officers showed less willingness to accept everything that Rolerson did but did not want to be the ones to report him. According to Knox.VillageSoupr.com article,
“Another officer told the investigators that at another time, he was in a cruiser with Rolerson on Bog Road in Rockland, when Rolerson suddenly slammed on the brakes, ran out of the cruiser, leaving the door open and beat a porcupine.
The fellow officer told the investigator he did not know what to do.
Rolerson told other officers he would sometimes pepper spray the porcupines before or after beating them.
One officer upon hearing of one of these incidents, drove up to Bog Road seven hours after the attack occurred and found the porcupine still alive and twitching. The officer considered killing the animal to end its suffering, but did not know if he should.”
Officers Fight Dismissal
Michael A. Rolerson was charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty, Night Hunting, and Illuminating Wild Animals or Birds. Addison Cox was charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty, Night Hunting, and Unlawful use or Possession of Implements or Aids. Rolerson has already thrown out PTSD, which leads me to believe he is going to try to use that as a defense.
We highly recommend you read the Knox.VillageSoupr.com article which has much more detailed information. They did a really good job.