Florida Bar investigating Clearwater lawyer who left raccoon to die 20 miles offshore

“We're just going to have to push him off.”

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Florida Bar investigating Clearwater lawyer who left raccoon to die 20 miles offshore
Screengrab via Thomas Cope/Facebook

The Clearwater lawyer who filmed himself saying “So longer, sucker” to a raccoon he left stranded 20 miles offshore is now being investigated by the Florida Bar.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bar officials confirmed that an investigation into Thomas Cope’s raccoon incident is underway, but did not say which rules he may have violated.

Though Cope has since apologized for leaving the raccoon to die, this is the second major investigation into his now-viral video. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also launched an inquiry on May 8, stating that “It is still too early to speculate as to what violations took place in this incident." 

The now-deleted video was originally captioned "Trash panda came out from hiding 20 miles from dock! Anyone else had these things squat on their boat? *watch muted if you don't like profanity,*" and presumably showed Cope and his friends yelling at the raccoon, while the animal searched for an escape.

“Get off my fucking boat! What the fuck is wrong with you?” a man is heard yelling in the video. “We're just going to have to push him off,” another says. Once the raccoon fell off the boat, the video then showed the animal swimming aimlessly in the ocean.

“I sincerely wish there was some way I could have safely returned to shore to release the raccoon,” Cope said in a statement. “Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in the moment was to get the raccoon off the boat."

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