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Attorney defends officer accused of animal abuse

By Stephen Betts | Oct 13, 2020

Rockland — An attorney representing one of two former Rockland police officers accused of beating porcupines to death while on duty spoke out Oct. 13 on behalf of his client.

Attorney Stephen Smith of Augusta is representing Michael Rolerson.

“Mike is a decorated veteran, a dedicated police officer and a loving family man. He and his family have been devastated by these accusations. This is not an opportunity for some activist to score cheap points on a police officer," Smith said.

"Whoever is leaking supposed police reports to hurt Mike needs to take a long look in the mirror because that is a crime. We will deal with these accusations through the courts, not the media," Smith concluded.

Attorney Bruce Merrill of Portland represents the other officer, Addison Cox.

Merrill said he had no comment at this time on behalf of his client.

Rolerson and Cox are scheduled to make their initial appearance in the Knox County court Nov. 9.

Cox, 27, of Warren and Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont were both charged Oct. 2 with Class C aggravated animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of night hunting.

Cox was also charged with misdemeanor unlawful use or possession of implements or aids. Rolerson was charged with misdemeanor illuminating wild animals or birds.

Cox and Rolerson were fired Sept. 22 and were issued summonses for the criminal charges Oct. 2. 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 on a Snapchat group consisting of officers who worked the night shift in Rockland.

Nearly 100 cases where the officers were involved could be affected by their being criminally charged.

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Comments (8)
Posted by: Shelby Thomas Bates | Oct 16, 2020 07:53

So glad I worked to be able to pay for these creeps' late night amusements when people are stressing over DHHS funding, support for those experiencing homelessness, students struggling with distance learning, seasonal workers getting handed 2020 and being expected to keep up, and pretty much everyone else hurting for a dollar who could actually benefit the community. It feels so good to know that I'm paying for sick people to indulge their mental illness instead of get treatment. If they haven't convinced you to slash the budget I don't know what to tell you.


On the bright side, we've gotten a peek at how our local force handles issues like this. Props to the folks who called them out and kicked them out instead of trying to cover it up. That can't have been an easy move. So thank you to the folks doing their part to keep the department safe and honest. Knowing the bad apples are actively culled makes it that much easier to trust those still wearing a badge.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 15, 2020 09:59

Guess I should have picked up on this earlier, but the actions of these officers was done while they were on duty.  Seems like a good starting point for developing a case to "Defund the police" (sorry Immott) .  We're paying these guys to do nothing all night except drive around up in the Bog and find things to amuse themselves.  Maybe one of our brave councilors could propose eliminating the overnight schedule and save a bundle on payroll.  The police have said they have to fill 3 full time shifts, perhaps filling two would be more than enough.  Still like your idea Francis of labeling cruisers with decals showing the number of kills.

Posted by: Judith H Olson | Oct 15, 2020 08:01

Best move Rolerson can make is to fire his attorney.  The grandstanding by Attorney Stephen Smith has done nothing for his client's case but cause hate and discontent.  In lieu of wasting money on an attorney that is craving attention, maybe Rolerson could use his funds for psychiatric assistance. . . pretty sick actions that need to be addressed.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 14, 2020 10:29

Man up Rolerson. These aren't accusations. You admitted doing it and now you have a mouthpiece that wants to justify your actions by playing the veteran card. In my opinion you are not sorry or you would accept your punishment like a man and move on in your life. May the God of porcupines bless you with multiple quills.

Posted by: Jane Flannery Hall | Oct 14, 2020 09:42

Disgraceful behavior Killing innocent animals by torture For fun It is appalling and heinous .While on duty also.We do not want them representing the Police force.


Posted by: Knight Marine Service | Oct 14, 2020 09:12

They should just step up and take their punishments like men.  It is not a case of anything other than animal cruelty, STRAIGHT UP.  Rolerson's attorney should take a note from Cox's attorney and keep quiet.  Celia Knight

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 14, 2020 08:52

The attorney is just doing his job.  "Your honor it was not the snakes fault he bit your client, he was just being a snake".  Unfortunately no one to represent the porcupine's.

Posted by: Kelly Blastow | Oct 13, 2020 12:23

NONSENSE!! We as a community are DEVASTATED by thier actions!! Are you kidding me??

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