Coeymans, New York – Multiple police officers are being criticized after a video was posted on Facebook that showed two squad cars racing across an open parking lot and attempting to run over a raccoon.
The video was posted by Bryanna Catucci, and in the caption, she wrote, “Leaving the grocery store to find 2 cops charging at a raccoon in a car for 15 minutes until dead. You would think if it had rabies they would shoot him instead of torturing. Sad day.”
The Coeymans Police Department also took to social media to confirm they had received multiple calls about a raccoon, and that the suspects seen in the video were officers from the department. The statement claimed that by racing across a parking lot and appearing to make a competition out of running over a scared raccoon, the officers were handling the situation “as quickly and humanely as possible.”
“On March 12 we received numerous calls about a rabid raccoon in faith plaza. The raccoon had attempted to get into the establishment at one point. Our officer’s [sic] did find the raccoon, but it was not in an area that was safe to discharge a firearm due to the proximity of pedestrians and residences. They dispatched the raccoon as quickly and humanely as possible.”
The video clips posted by Catucci received more than 50,000 shares in less than 24 hours, and the Facebook users who responded to it were horrified by the scene. But the most scathing comments came from users who were responding to the department’s support of the incident.
“I bet you would have no problem shooting a black man in a place with buildings and pedestrians, so why not a raccoon?” One user wrote. “This is shameful and a disgrace. Those officers should be arrested for animal cruelty. I don’t think you’d like being run over by a car.”
Another user noted the difference between an officer being the culprit in such an incident, and an average citizen. “Are these officers going to get charged with animal cruelty for torturing this animal?” he wrote. “If I would have attempted this I would have surely been charged.”
“Hmm…Issue a sincere apology and reassure the public that you weren’t just playing a sick game (how it looks to a lot of folks). That you were trying to act in the best interest of public safety, and that you’ll come up with a better way to humanely dispatch an animal in the future…OR…tell people that you’re right and they’re wrong because you’re the Police,” another user wrote, pointing out that if the department had issued an apology for the conduct of its officers, it may have received a different response in the comments section.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that it is investigating the incident. Todd Cramer, president and CEO of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, told the Albany Times Union that the organization plans to work with law enforcement “to investigate this matter and ensure that this does not happen again.”
“We are appalled,” Cramer said. “This was a completely unacceptable, reckless and inhumane way to address the situation.”
Psychology Today noted that studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between intentional animal torture and cruelty (IATC) among children and murder and rape among adults. Essentially, many murderers and rapists start out by torturing and killing animals.
“When the science of behavioral profiling began to emerge in the 1970s, one of the most consistent findings reported by the FBI profiling unit was that childhood IATC appeared to be a common behavior among serial murderers and rapists (i.e., those with psychopathic traits characterized by impulsivity, selfishness, and lack of remorse). Many notorious serial killers – such as Jeffrey Dahmer—began by torturing and killing animals in their childhood.”
If the Coeymans Police officers featured in the video saw no problem with intentionally torturing a helpless raccoon, then it raises serious questions about the psychopathic traits they are fostering, and why the department is turning a blind eye.