Cop Versus Squirrel: Students Object To Police Officer Pepper Spraying Squirrel

We have discussed cases of the use of tasers or pepper spray as first responses by police when alternatives seem obvious. This video shows a confrontation between an officer and a squirrel where the officer pepper sprays the squirrel over the objections of onlookers.

It is not clear what danger was presented by the squirrel but I expect that it is fully recovered. It would seem a fairly common occurrence for students to encounter squirrels outside of buildings.

This is really not about the squirrel is it?

48 thoughts on “Cop Versus Squirrel: Students Object To Police Officer Pepper Spraying Squirrel

  1. I’d say….. Force this ”butt-sucker’s” head into a barrel full of Pepper spray for five minutes…………….. or until he developes a little humanity

  2. at least he just pepper sprayed the little guy. Was it a black squirrel or grey?

    He is going to be abused by fellow cops. Oh, I would have a field day yanking his chain.

    I guess Boris Badinoff really does exist and it looks like Rocky got the best of him. Did you see how quickly he backe away from the “perp”?

  3. this big-man cop was just bored…torturing something the size of his bicep was a bit of entertainment. a peek inside at some of what drives certain small-minded men (and women, albeit not as commonly) to engage in cruelty and torture of other human beings…

  4. With wild animals, including squirrels, one must be concerned w/ rabies. I’m not saying that’s the case here. But, it is a possibility and a 30 second clip w/o context makes definitive conclusions quite difficult. Why was the cop there? Was he called there by someone saying there is a squirrel acting “squirrely? Have there been reports of rabies in the area? Was he simply trying to disable the squirrel until animal control arrived? There are many more questions than legit conclusions. It’s noteworthy the squirrel kept advancing although being sprayed. Hell, just think about when you’re walking in a neighborhood or woods. As soon as you get close to a squirrel it’s up a tree in a second. Maybe the truth is the guy is just in love w/ his pepper spray. But, having videotaped people for over 30 years I know you get NO context from a 30 second clip. If I went into a courtroom and showed simply a 30 second clip of a plaintiff bending over a couple times when they were allegedly disabled, as proof they were lying, I would be laughed out of court.

  5. nick:

    get with the program, we are bustin the cops chops over the case of the pepper squirrel. Do you want onions with that?

  6. Bron, I expect to be considered a “fly in the ointment” on this. However, I NEVER write a comment trying to be an instigator. I gives caveats. But, I know this can be a lynch mob @ times.

  7. I know those damn things tear up my cushions for my lawn furniture, but I’m not sure they need to be pepper sprayed.

  8. nick:

    you dont like bustin chops? I wont give your secret away.

    Lynch mob? This place makes lynch mobs look like a rational exercise in justice.

  9. Oh, I love bustin’ chops, but I was called a troll when I first got here. I didn’t know what that meant. I laughed my ass off when I learned what it meant because I am the anti-troll, as I believe you and most folks are here. We did have a sockpuppet here last week however, lame and stupid.

  10. A statement from the Hawthorne Police Department detailed his alleged interference: “This interference included loud, distracting music (from the individual’s vehicle), and his intentional walking within close proximity to armed officers, while holding an 80-pound Rottweiler on a long leash-line,” the statement said.

    LIES! watch the video

  11. I study and work on a large college campus with 30K students. Our squirrels can be approached as close as 3 feet before they move away. They, rightly, do not seem to view college students as a threat – I suspect the squirrels are given treats by some of the students. Hard to judge by the brief video, but the squirrel does not appear to be attacking the officer or otherwise displaying aggressive signs. I think he pepper-sprayed it because he could, and if no students were around he might have unlimbered the .40 Glock for some live fire target practice. After all, cops shoot dogs, don’t they?

  12. What a wimp. Using OC against a squirrel? If the squirrel had to be chased off wouldn’t just walking over to it make it run away, or was it so fearsome he had to jump up the Force Continuum to address the threat the squirrel presented?

  13. @Feyd…Really! Loud music? That cop needs a bit of attention deficit help, if that were the case, which is wasn’t.

  14. Nick Spinelli: “…and a 30 second clip w/o context makes definitive conclusions quite difficult.”

    Nick, Really? Context? Come on.

  15. Darren,

    Look at the huge sharp nasty teeth! Good God man! Look at the bones!

    Rabbits aren’t the only dangerous rodents . . . .

  16. I’m with Nick on this one. I’ll withhold judgment until further context. Who knows what the cop or others did to first try to scare away the squirrel before the video begins? From what I see, the squirrel didn’t run away after being pepper sprayed but instead advanced toward the cop. That’s 100% completely out of the ordinary in my experience with every squirrel I’ve ever encountered who is threatened. There’s even a voice at the very beginning of the recording (sounds like a teacher) saying “for it to be coming toward us, it’s not right” which suggests to me that this squirrel was acting all “squirrelly.” Squirrels are one of the more frequent carriers of rabies. I sure wouldn’t want to be bit by one. Besides, pepper spray is not lethal and shouldn’t do anything other than cause the squirrel to run away, so it’s not like the cop tried to kill him or placed anyone in danger.

  17. “If the squirrel had to be chased off wouldn’t just walking over to it make it run away, or was it so fearsome he had to jump up the Force Continuum to address the threat the squirrel presented?”

    How do you know this wasn’t tried first, before the video begins?

  18. It’s. A. Squirrel.

    Not a tiger. Was there any rational basis for needing to run it off in the first place? Probably not.

    Now if the squirrel was packing heat or a knife? That’d be a different story. They aren’t a species known for either their aggressiveness nor for being a particular threat to humans physically. And the whole not having thumbs thing might interfere with their becoming a substantive threat via employing weapons.

    I’m thinking if it came down to a fight for survival, there isn’t a poster here who couldn’t take a squirrel in unarmed combat.

  19. Kraaken, Really. Videotape evidence was my specialty. This is merely a snapshot. I know the intent of this post was to illicit ridicule. And, as I stated in my comment, the truth may be the cop was just be a jerk, or “wimp or “sadistic jackass.” But this 30 second clip does not convince me. If it convinces you, then if I ever had just 30 seconds of video showing a personal injury plaintiff bending over twice as refutation that he was injured in an accident, I would want you to be foreperson of that jury.

  20. And stop looking for a fight w/ vague insults. I’m being reasonable and have some expertise. All you are offering is snark.

  21. nick,

    If I wanted to start a fight, I wouldn’t pussyfoot around. Calm down and realize that everything isn’t about you. Find your happy space.

  22. “Was there any rational basis for needing to run it off in the first place? Probably not.”

    How would you know? It’s a school. There’s a big crowd of students who seem awfully distracted by the whole thing. Did the students get distracted by the cop confronting a squirrel or did the cop respond to the students being distracted by the squirrel? Or something else? I don’t know and I’m confident you don’t either.

    “Now if the squirrel was packing heat or a knife? That’d be a different story. They aren’t a species known for either their aggressiveness nor for being a particular threat to humans physically. And the whole not having thumbs thing might interfere with their becoming a substantive threat via employing weapons. I’m thinking if it came down to a fight for survival, there isn’t a poster here who couldn’t take a squirrel in unarmed combat.”

    Those poor straw men never had a chance against you.

  23. The location of the event is immaterial to the squirrel being a legitimate threat or not. Personally, I’ve never been nor have I ever met anyone intimidated by a squirrel. Have you? People with sciurophobia don’t count.

    Also, learn to differentiate between straw men and a joke used to make a point about squirrels not being known for being aggressive or a substantive threat. A straw man is a material misrepresentation of anothers position to attack it. Did I say either of you said the squirrel was armed? No. It was joke deployed as reductio ad absurdum.

    Do you have sciurophobia?

    If not, please come up with a rational scenario where macing a squirrel is in furtherance of public safety – not including the almost completely non-existent chance of rabies.

    Was it stealing textbooks? Sitting in on lectures it hadn’t paid for?

    What exactly could a squirrel do to merit a chemical attack by what is nominally a peace officer?

  24. In fact, when I was in college, the squirrels on our campus were so dangerous someone captured one and gave it a pierced ear.

    Vicious killers.

  25. Hey, at least the “officer” made it home safely at the end of his shift. That’s always their excuse for everything they do, isn’t it? “Us vs. them mentality”? Yes, the cops created it and they perpetuate it through incidents like these. For me, they have lost the public relations war forever.

  26. Um, squirrels tend to run away when a human walks up on them. The fact that this one didn’t seems to mean it was acting strangely and might have been ill in some way. Maybe rabies…who knows. For safety’s sake, a pepper spray to get it to move along seems more humane than say, stomping on its skull. However, I grew up in the country where squirrels are destructive rats with fuzzy tails and will overrun your property if you don’t thin the herd once in a while. Sorry, but this doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  27. wedge,

    Squirrels aren’t as timid as most people think. Especially when nesting. They’ll charge, whip their tails and sometimes “bark” at any intruder they think is too close to the nest. Snakes, hawks, humans, they don’t care. And that is exactly what it looks like that squirrel is doing: charging and tail whipping. Here’s one tail whipping and barking . . .

    Here’s one taking on a bull snake too close to the nest . . .

    If they aren’t nesting, squirrels will usually run away. Fall foraging can make them act that way too if you’re too near a food hide.

    I grew up in the country too. I hunted way more than one squirrel before I gave up hunting. I’ve had to shoot a rabid dog and a rabid raccoon before as well. Their behavior wasn’t territorial. It was simply aggressive. There was no display. They were trying to bite you and there was no mistaking it.

    That being said? It may have been sick. But it’s highly unlikely it was rabid. Raccoons, opossum, skunks, cats, dogs, woodchucks and groundhogs are about the smallest animals rabies is a problem with in this country and only woodchucks and groundhogs are even close to squirrel size. The rest are larger.

    Spring, early summer on a wooded college campus?

    My money is on nesting.

  28. “How do you know this [running off the squirrel] wasn’t tried first, before the video begins?”
    ~+~
    Does it matter? What risk could this squirrel present to anybody? Maybe the vorpal bunny in the clip obtained from Medieval England is a grave concern but a squirrel? It ain’t no threat.

    The officer should have thought how this might look to the public first.

  29. I wanted friends growing up but the kids wanted to torment squirrels with rubber bands and paperclips. I was I think 13 years old refusing to go along with them. They probably grew up to be pepper spraying cops. It is plain to see that cops are trained to be desensitized having cold hearts.

  30. @ feyd i dont know what video you’re watching but the guy in that video was driving down the street with music blasting. the cops was in the process of carrying out the arrest of a armed suspect and even the man taking the video said he was asking for trouble. the cop said it a couple times over the bull horn and asked him to turn down his music … he put the dog in the car with the window left open. sorry i love all animals but snakes. and even i have to admit THE DOG IS DEAD BECAUSE OF ITS OWNER. the cop tried twice to grab the dogs chain and the dog lunged at him. and while you’re posting about that. why didnt you post the fact that the guy who owned the dog. refused to turn down his music and already has 2 lawsuits going against the cops. this lawsuit he is going to lose as he deserves to.. now on the pepper sprayed squirrel. was he in a terrorist watch list? is his criminal record about 20 pages long? was he resisiting arrest? if not then no the squirrel did not deserved to be pepper sprayed

  31. A startled squirrel ran up my leg once. Then I was startled. But a quick twerk and the squirrel was airborne.

    Robin: Nevertheless the post event police report was untruthful, which was my point.

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