Last week the Orlando Sentinel reported that Orlando Police arrested 34-year-old Rocco Joseph Mantella for allegedly ‘practicing karate’ on swans at Lake Eola Park. Your favorite online karate magazine has the details.
An arrest affidavit, from the Circuit Court of Orange County, Fl, states that police were called to Lake Eola at around 9:30am on April 26th after a caller had observed a man “kicking animals throughout the park.”
The responding officers quickly located the suspect, Mantella, and arrested him without incident. Sworn witness statements were taken regarding what had happened. One witness claimed they observed Mantella practicing karate and kicking two swans in the head and then another in the backside.
The witness stated that the kicks were “as hard as possible”, which resulted in one swan collapsing to the ground. This witness claimed that Mantella also kicked a small duck that appeared to be sleeping.
Another witness claimed they saw Mantella purposely go after a swan to kick it. That witness also said that Mantella laughed after he noticed their reaction to the incident.
Mantella has been charged with one count of Cruelty to Animals and was given bond of $1,000. Mantella has since requested a public defender and filed a claim for criminal indigent status.
This isn’t Mantella’s first run in with police. Earlier this month he was arrested for trespassing at Walt Disney World. In March he was charged with attempted robbery and disorderly conduct after allegedly taking food from people’s trays at a McDonald's before threatening to rob a couple in a nearby parking lot.
Before all this Mantella, who wrestled at Indiana University, tried his hand at mixed martial arts. In 2012 he won an amateur fight at XCC: Carnage in Philadelphia, PA. According to Tapology, Mantella was set to make his pro debut, at Ring of Combat 39, in 2012 but the bout was canceled.
In Florida cruelty to animals can result in fines up to $10,000, incarceration up to six months, and mandatory psychological counseling and/or anger management treatment.
Mantella is presumed innocent of all charges until proven guilty.