ROCKLAND, Maine — Two former police officers were sentenced to jail after beating at least 11 porcupines to death on several occasions while they were on duty.
Addison Cox and Michael A. Rolerson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges and night hunting, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Cox, 28, was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 80 days suspended. He was also fined $1,000 and placed on administrative leave for six months, which also prohibits him from applying for law enforcement jobs. He must also complete 100 hours of community service. He is expected to serve his jail time on weekends.
Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in jail, with 250 of the days suspended. He was also fined $1,000 and placed on probation for six months. He also must relinquish his Maine Criminal Justice Academy Credentials. He is expected to start serving his jail time in January.
Prosecutors said Rolerson was handed the heavier sentence because he was the senior officer and killed more porcupines.
Their charges had been reduced because they were military veterans who had served in active combat. Both men are getting treatment through the Veterans’ Administration, district attorney Natasha Irving said.
“That was a mitigating factor, that they both experienced war zones,” Irving told the Daily News. “Ultimately, I want them never to hurt another living thing again … I think that addressing the mental health component, I think that’s a really important part of it.”
The abuse was discovered after it was reported by another officer in late August 2020. Rolerson told investigators he believed the porcupines were a nuisance and that he killed at least eight of them. Cox said he looked up to Rolerson and had killed three in an effort to be like him.
They were both fired from the Rockland Police Department Sept. 22, 2020.
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