This was always probably going to be the end-game of the militarised, bored, and under-trained US police system, but holy shit is it still ever jarring to see in action.
A police deputy in the US state of Maryland has shot a groundhog dead, claiming it was holding up traffic in an incident that was captured on film by a witness.
The footage, which has since gone viral, shows what starts as a bizarre and frankly comical scenario in which the cop in question shoos away traffic in an attempt to herd the wild animal off the road, reacting less like a curious animal-related scenario and more like the whole thing was about to boil over into a full-blown groundhog riot.
The animal trots across the road at a reasonable pace, in the vague direction of the officer, pausing briefly a couple of times. This, apparently, was enough for the officer to register it as a deadly threat, because the footage then shows the situation taking a wild left turn with the officer drawing his weapon, crouching into an assault pose, and shooting the animal on the spot.
The groundhog writhes momentarily, allowing the officer time to move behind it, before he shoots it again, this time fatally.
Let’s go over that one again real quick: He shot a groundhog dead because it wasn’t leaving the road fast enough.
The entire incident is in the footage below. See for yourself.
(A warning: If you’re not keen on seeing a cop literally shoot an animal dead, you might want to turn away).
What began as a comical mishap quickly turned disturbing when a police officer — initially trying to get a groundhog out of the road — took out his gun and shot it in front of a line of cars. https://t.co/s2Qu8JZ92R pic.twitter.com/upat4eYnIr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 8, 2018
HOW… WHY… WHAT IS HE… I DON’T.
How’s the attack pose there? My man’s trying to herd a creature off a highway and suddenly enters full-on “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS” mode. Does a four-legged animal pausing while crossing a road count as resisting in America these days? Jesus christ.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office official explanation of the incident makes it even weirder.
[The deputy] realised that it was not responding as expected for an animal that was not being cornered or trapped. Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured, the deputy then put the animal down for the public’s safety.
Ahh yep. The ole’ veterinarian ocular pat-down. It didn’t immediately comply with instruction, so therefore it must’ve been sick or injured. Cop logic.
And while sure, there’s a broader point to be made here about American police force’s needless weaponisation, its lack of due diligence in recruiting, and its wild-eyed, unchecked reliance on a very lax interpretation of the concept of “law and order” which has resulted in the ugly evolution of an un-trained and largely afraid para-military operation that’s been taught to assess regular citizens as threats.
But credit where it’s due: He rattled that groundhog’s dome.
The incident remains under investigation.