A squirrel, a cop and a good Samaritan: tales from Brooklyn Park

Updated 9:15 a.m. | Posted 7:11 a.m.

No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a squirrel. That’s the hopeful message we take with us on this Friday as we read the latest from the streets of Brooklyn Park.

The gritty video comes straight from the cop’s body cam.

Gritty MPR News scribe Tim Nelson tells the story:

It looked like yet another roadside tragedy when Brooklyn Park police rolled up: a car stopped in the middle of the street, driver side door open, a pedestrian lying prostrate on the side of the road and unresponsive.

And furry. And gray. With a white tummy and fluffy tail.

Body camera footage from an officer captured the aftermath.

“I runned it over a little bit,” the young man who had been behind the wheel explained, as he administered chest compressions — very, very small chest compressions — on the squirrel lying on near the curb.

Chris Felix lives nearby and said he was on his way to work as detailer at a Twin Cities Subaru dealership when he hit the squirrel. Or the squirrel hit him.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened,” Felix said in an interview on Thursday, shortly after the video of his resuscitation effort was posted on the Brooklyn Park police Facebook page. Whatever happened, he was worried the squirrel was going to die.

“Is he squished at all?” asked the officer. It didn’t appear like it. “Flip him over,” the cop suggested.

That apparently did the trick. The squirrel started blinking. Moments later, it leapt up and ran into a line of pine trees nearby.

“We’ll put you in for a lifesaving award,” the cop told the Felix, laughing. Before he high-fived him.

Brooklyn Park Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said the incident happened on the 6500 block of Hampshire Avenue on Sept. 26. He said he follows the discussion about body camera video, and what should be public and yes, he says, it’s not always pretty.

“I put it up because it just seemed to make sense to show this video. It isn’t really about police. It’s just about three people enjoying this moment, when this squirrel comes back to life right before their eyes and got away,” Bruley said.

  • emersonpie

    I’m taking a mental health day from news, so this was an excellent start to the day. Thanks!

    • Gary F

      Moose AND squirrel stories in the same week!

      • ec99

        Raskolnikov!

  • Rob

    Kudos to the young dude, and to the Wildlife Rehab Center. I’ve brought quite a few injured critters there over the years.

    • I volunteered at the WRC a few times many moons ago and helped feed the squirrels.

      The grey squirrels were usually pretty cool.

      The red squirrels are a**holes.

      • Veronica

        I went to college in a part of the country with only red squirrels, and yes, they are assholes. They used to throw acorns at us. And yes, on purpose.

        • Rob

          That’s where the guy who does the Mutts comic strip got his idea for the acorn-tossing squirrels. : )

      • Carol S.

        Some students at Concordia College in Moorhead did a research project on this topic. The campus has both kinds, and as a graduate, I can attest the red squirrels there are also the meaner of the two.

        http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/education/3702167-concordia-students-track-study-campus-squirrels

  • lusophone

    I’m fully prepared to take the heat for my comments on this one, so bring it.

    I don’t brake for squirrels. I actually hate them. I’m guessing this guy has never had to worry about the damage a squirrel is doing in his attic or the wires up there or the siding or the fascia, etc.

    The way I see it, if I happen to flatten a squirrel while driving, following the speed limit and all the rules mind you, I may have just solved some other poor home owner’s problem with an unwanted guest. And swerving or braking for a squirrel in the road can cause an accident, so I will never do that.

    I guess that makes me Boris Badenov. So be it.

    • Veronica

      Oh, oh my goodness. No.

      I love our resident squirrels, especially our albino ones. Please stay far away from my neighborhood.

      I actually use “do you try to hit animals while driving?” as an ethical test for people I may want to have any relationship– platonic or professional.

      • Barton

        The albino ones scare me. There were a ton on my college campus. They were so mean. If you sat on the quad, they’d attack you. If you walked under a tree, they’d attack you. If you walked around a tree, they’d attack you. I swear, if you looked at them at all, they’d attack you. Thus I’m still leery of them today.

        But I’ll slow down to avoid them in my car or on my bicycle, just like I do any creature.

        • Veronica

          Ours are actually really sweet.

        • Brian Simon

          And, if you don’t, they’ll attack you.

      • lusophone

        To be clear, I don’t “try” to hit them. I won’t swerve (toward or away from) a squirrel or hit the brakes for a squirrel.

        • Veronica

          It’s not just about intent, but the level of remorse.

          • lusophone

            Understood. I think the stress of having so many squirrel couples take up residence in my house clouds my normal sense of remorse I have towards all other living creatures. They’ve chewed through aluminum fascia and the wood behind it at two different corners of my house and nested there. They’ve wedged themselves between the siding and the exterior wall at another corner of my house until the piece of siding blew off. They’ve chewed through the metal mesh on a roof vent and set up their abode in my attic from that access point. I think I need a squirrel exorcism.

          • chlost

            I can sympathize, as we have had flying squirrels in our home. Stole the dog’s food, hid it away all over the house. Let me be clear—IN our house. But I guess I don’t hold any ill will for their species as a whole. I just don’t want to share my home with them. We got a wildlife exterminator who live trapped them and relocated, we cut down some tree branches to avoid easy access to the house. And I don’t hit them when driving if there is any way to avoid it. We put our streets on top of their backyard.

      • Guest

        GOOD test

    • Rob

      So glad to know the milk of human kindness is flowing through you so fully.

      • lusophone

        I just really hate squirrels. Did you know they can chew through aluminum siding?

        • Rob

          They’re just expressing their editorial opinion re: aluminum siding.

    • Al

      I don’t swerve or brake, either. I don’t trust other drivers as it is, let alone if I’m all over the road because I’m trying to avoid a rodent.

      So if you’re Boris, I’m good with being Natasha.

    • Ben Chorn
  • Gary F

    That’s a cool story. I’m not getting near a stunned or dead squirrel. That thing comes back to life scared as hell and bites you and runs off. It could be rabid.

    • Rob

      The CDC notes that squirrels are almost never rabid, and that there is no known instance of a squirrel transmitting rabies to a human.

      • Al

        Now bats, on the other hand… Protect yo self, guys. (Though I hope no one’s hitting bats with cars or trying CPR on bats.)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNw6hkFEtOk

        • chlost

          We also have had bats in our house. Early this summer, I found one on the inside of a window screen of an open window. I had the presence of mind to close the window, went outside and used a very long yard implement to pull the screen off. It is sometimes a bit overwhelming to live in an area with lots of wildlife.

        • Rob

          Yup. Came scross a bat on the sidewalk a couple years ago; took recommended precautions for scooping it up, and took it to the Wildlife Rehab Center. Got a call a couple weeks later from MN Dept of Health, notifying me that the bat had indeed been rabid.

  • Debby

    Wonderful story. Day brightener on a day when it’s really needed. Thank you!

  • AmiSchwab

    sometimes fridays are good.