What Sort of Person Would Punch a Police Horse? Answer: A Drunk Person.

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Oct. 22 2013 1:18 PM

What Sort of Person Would Punch a Police Horse? Answer: A Drunk Person.

A file photo of two mounted police officers.


In a story as intriguing as it is brief, MyNews13.com reports that a Florida man was out and about on Saturday night when he became enraged at a police horse named Mr. George:

Police said that's when Korey Jerelds began yelling "F*** them horse," and started punching the horse on the left side of his neck several times.
Mr. George was not seriously hurt.

Jerelds was charged with “interfering with or obstructing a police dog/horse,” which is a hell of an embarrassing thing to be charged with. He’ll be in court soon enough. In the meantime, I’d like to take a moment to sympathize with Mr. George and all his equine colleagues—the Rodney Dangerfields of the law enforcement world. While mounted cops serve as great public relations tools for police departments, the horses’ lives aren’t all parades and sugar cubes. Police horses have been attacked by pit bulls, boxers, and other dogs. They spend their days being photographed by tourists and patted by grubby children, which, I am certain, gets very old very fast. But perhaps the biggest threat they face comes from woozy adults looking to indulge their inner Alex Karras.

Human-on-police-horse violence is more common than you might expect, given the futility of the endeavor. Florida, unsurprisingly, harbors more than its fair share of horse attackers. In 2012 a “rowdy reveler” in Orlando punched a police horse in the face. In 2011 two separate St. Petersburg-area residents were charged with slapping police horses, one on the nose, one on the butt. That same year, a Gainesville-area student was arrested outside a nightclub after allegedly elbowing a police horse whom he claimed was “in his face.” (While we can all agree that some horses have a penchant for getting all up in your business, violence is never an appropriate response.)

But Florida holds no monopoly on horse attacks. In 2009 a Kansas man was arrested after striking a police horse with a 5-foot-long inflatable penis. (The penis was a prop for a bachelorette party-in-progress.) In August a Houston woman slapped a police horse after becoming upset when a human police officer instructed her to pour out her “large cup of beer.” This April an unemployed British factory worker allegedly slugged a police horse in the neck after Newcastle United lost a soccer match to Sunderland. “I reacted stupidly. I did not go out to attack a horse,” the suspect, Barry Rogerson, said during a court appearance last month. “I would like to apologise to the horse, to all the mounted section, to people of the North East.”

The common element in these attacks? Alcohol, the proximate cause of so many of life’s bad decisions. Most of the suspects mentioned above were arrested during the early-morning hours in nightlife districts; the others had clearly been drinking before the attacks took place.

Every now and then, though, you’ll hear about a horse attack that can’t necessarily be explained by the suspect’s blood alcohol level. Last September, for example, somebody broke into a Chicago stable, freed 27 police horses, and then sprayed their faces with fire extinguisher foam. (Police suspect the horses were struck with the heavy fire extinguishers, too.) “They did not enter this to commit a theft; rather, they entered this to maliciously harm our horses,” a Chicago police lieutenant told CBS Chicago. That’s orders of magnitude creepier than a drunken slap.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.



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