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Attorneys waive initial court hearings for ex-police officers

By Stephen Betts | Nov 09, 2020

Rockland — The attorneys for two former Rockland police officers accused of beating porcupines to death while on duty waived their clients right to have initial court appearance scheduled for Nov. 9.

Addison Cox, 27, of Warren and Michael Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont were both charged Oct. 2 with Class C aggravated animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of night hunting. They were scheduled to be in the Knox County court Nov. 9.

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

Their attorneys filed an appearance on their clients' behalf and waived their appearances. Normally, in felony cases, defendants are required to appear.

Defendants do not enter pleas at initial appearances when charges are felonies, since the cases have not gone to a grand jury.

The next step will be dispositional conferences. Dates for those conferences have not been scheduled.

Attorney Bruce Merrill of Portland represents Cox. Attorney Stephen Smith of Augusta represents Rolerson.

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.

Last month, Smith spoke out on behalf of 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.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen Betts | Nov 10, 2020 08:15

This officer on administrative leave is being paid, yes.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Nov 10, 2020 07:54

Steve please correct me if I am wrong.  If an employee is placed on "administrative leave", doesn't that mean he is still paid his weekly compensation although not showing up for work  ?  So in effect, the taxpayers are paying for someone who's guilt or innocence is in question and therefor cannot be fired without due cause.  I'm certain the Chief is busily recruiting new replacements before anyone on the Council wakes up and decides this might be a good way to save the city some money by eliminating the overnight shift on the Police Dept.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Nov 09, 2020 10:32

If you admit to doing something then how can it be an accusation. What they did was just wrong and they should humbly accept their just due. I would respect that more than all the accolades.

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