Thursday, April 7, 2011
Video: Mesquite police officer pepper sprayed a squirrel on school property
He believed it might have a disease, but some students were upset by it.
MESQUITE According to a story first reported by CBS, a Mesquite police officer pepper sprayed a squirrel at Kimbrough Middle School on Wednesday sometime after school finished for the day. Students took video of the incident, which was titled “baby squirrel abuse” and was posted online. It's also posted below.
Sgt. Wes Talley, spokesperson for the Mesquite Police Department, says that the officer believed the squirrel was causing harm to the students. “I think that he was doing what he thought was necessary to protect the students. The squirrel was acting in an unusual manner,” Talley said. “He was trying to keep the squirrel away from the kids.”
Ian Halperin, district spokesperson for Mesquite ISD, affirmed that statement. “As you can see from the video, this squirrel was not running away,” he said. The fact that the animal was not afraid of people likely led the officer to believe something was wrong with the animal, Halperin said. But students in the video sounded like they didn't want the squirrel harmed.
After the squirrel was pepper sprayed, animal control “cleaned it up, cared for it, and released it back into the wild,” Talley said. The squirrel is alive.
As of today, Mesquite ISD does not plan on alerting parents to the situation. “Generally, we only do that when there's a specific threat to student safety, and we didn't think this was a threat to student safety,” Halperin said.
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