‘Woodchuck homicide’: NY cops suspended over groundhog killed with golf cart
Two upstate New York police officers have been suspended without pay for allegedly using a cart to run over and kill a groundhog during a boisterous police union golf event.
The Rensselaer police officers were suspended because they knew the matter was being investigated by officers in nearby Troy and failed to own up to their involvement in the animal’s killing, the Albany Times-Union reports.
"They failed to report it. So they're being given a 30-day suspension without pay," said Mayor Dan Dwyer.
Witnesses told investigating officers that two cops chased the woodchuck around in a golf cart until it became exhausted. The pair then allegedly ran it over, AP reports.
The incident, dubbed the “woodchuck homicide” case by the Albany Times-Union, occurred during a police union golf outing in Troy on July 29.
Local police said there isn’t much to charge officers Tyler Sammon and Mark Spath. However, Rick Fusco, chief of police for Rensselaer, said an internal investigation is continuing, and that he will push to fire both officers if the investigation finds them guilty.
The incident prompted tweeters to draw comparisons with the recent spate of police shootings in the US.
If only that woodchuck was "resisting" and was wearing a hoodie, this all could have been swept under the rug. https://t.co/bO1pjIgSWk— Mike Bates (@MikeBatesSBN) September 21, 2016
When cops get suspended for killing an animal but can't get suspended for killing an innocent black man. 😒https://t.co/5Iusyqf3LW— Kimberly (@iamkimmie25) September 21, 2016
Two cops got suspended for killing a woodchuck intentionally but when a cop kills a black man they go on "paid leave"😒— Marquette Wilhite (@gomomiles) September 21, 2016
The Board of Public Safety decided to suspend the pair for their part in the debacle after a 90-minute discussion during a special meeting on the matter on Monday.