The defendant was belligerent to officers and told them, "It's just a ... duck," the complaint said.
The ducks in the atrium pond at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown St. Paul have never been wild and likely can't fly more than a foot or two.
Yet Scott D. Clark allegedly stalked and cornered one of the ducks against a brick wall early Saturday, then wrenched off its head. He told astonished onlookers that he was hungry, police said.
Scott, 26, of Denver, was charged Monday with felony animal cruelty. He made his first court appearance, posted bail and was released. The charge is not ranked by state sentencing guidelines. It is up to a judge to decide on suitable punishment if Clark is convicted.
According to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, Clark became belligerent with officers when they arrested him at the hotel on E. 10th Street about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
"Mr. Clark stated to police that he worked for the federal government and when this was over he would have the officers' jobs," the complaint said. Records show that Clark is an auditor in the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Denver. He could not be reached to comment Monday.
The complaint said Clark asked officers if he was in trouble.
"Yes," they told him.
"Why, because I killed it out of season?" the complaint quotes Clark as saying. "Big deal, it's just a [expletive] duck."
Police Sgt. John Wuorinen said, "It sounds like there was quite a bit of alcohol involved."
Rosco Larson, general manager of the Embassy Suites, said Monday, "These animals have been a part of our hotel's family for many years and we are deeply saddened by this incident."
The hotel has about seven ducks that swim in the pond and wander the plant-filled walkways. Each is valued at about $400.
Scott Ramsey, a naturalist at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, said ducks can live in any setting.
"That's just bizarre," he said of the incident at the Embassy Suites. "Obviously they're not wild. Obviously they're there for the patrons to enjoy."
Pat Pheifer 651-298-1551