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Charges against Rockland officers may impact nearly 100 cases

By Stephen Betts | Oct 10, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Charges against two former Rockland police officers for allegedly beating porcupines to death while on duty could have an impact on nearly 100 criminal cases.

On Oct. 9, District Attorney Natasha Irving said the impact will vary depending on whether the former officers were the only witnesses in the cases.

The district attorney said if the cases that the officers brought are minor, non-violent offenses, they may end up being dismissed or a plea offer to reduced charges or penalties.

Addison Cox, 27, of Warren and Michael A. 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.

The district attorney said Cox and Rolerson's credibility would be an issue if they were to testify in cases where they were the charging officers. She declined to comment on the status of Smith's cases.

The issue will not be as important in cases where there are other witnesses including other officers.

"This does add another level of complications," she said about the two former officers' actions and their future roles in the criminal cases they brought when they were officers.

She said she notified attorneys or defendants representing themselves in 98 cases.

Rolerson and Cox are scheduled to make initial appearances in court Nov. 9 for their own criminal cases.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Jane Flannery Hall | Oct 12, 2020 08:18

This activity is without a doubt heinous. To kill innocent animals with such pain for no reason other than to kill is unjustified and disgracefel. We can only pray they do not have young children who could be affected by the inhumaness of this deplorable act. To not have reverence for life is beyond words. May they never work again in the Police Department.

 



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