ROCKLAND – The news that two Rockland Police Officers recently fired from the department allegedly beat to death several porcupines on more than one occasion with a baton and while on duty, has shocked the Midcoast. The officers are to appear in Knox County Superior Court Nov. 9.
Addison Cox and Mike Rolerson were charged with aggravated felony animal cruelty on Oct. 2. According to the complaint filed in Knox County Court, the felony charge falls under the Maine Legislature Statute, Title 17, law §1031 for cruelty to animals. The court complaint states the, “men did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to an animal; cause the death of an animal; or physically torture an animal.”
The Portland Press Herald reported on the criminal investigative document Oct. 6, as compiled by Game Warden Kevin Anderson, describing horrific deaths of the wild animals.
The report has not been officially released by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which conducted the investigation. Penobscot Bay Pilot contacted MDIFW Communications Director Mark Latti and requested that the report be made public. Latti referred the Pilot’s media request to Assistant District Attorney, Michael Dumas, in Sagadadoc County who was assigned by District Attorney Natasha Irving to review the case for charges. The ADA’s office referred the request to Irving, who said Oct. 7 that her office will not be releasing the report since they are prosecuting the criminal case.
Cox and Rolerson will appear in Knox County Court Nov. 9 and to date, their defense attorneys have yet to be named.
Irving has also assigned Dumas to prosecute the case, which she said Oct. 6 will occur in Knox County.
She also said that at the initial court appearance, bail for the two officers will potentially be amended. It will be decided at a later date if the case goes to trial, either with a jury or a bench trial, with a judge presiding.
“Law enforcement and civilians live under the same laws, the same rules, and the same community norms in Prosecutorial District 6,” Irving said, Oct. 7. “The crimes alleged shock the conscience of the entire Midcoast community. It is our duty as prosecutors to hold these men accountable for these crimes without fear or favor, that is what justice demands, and that is what we intend to do.”
Reaction in the community has been strong, from incomprehension to disgust and sadness.
Sarah Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org