OLDSMAR, Fla. — Cops in Florida sucker punched a young alligator and then tied it up and handcuffed it in a display of unnecessary force. The 7-foot-long, immature 'gator was spotted by a crossing guard at a Tampa-area school where it tried to enter the school with some papers, which later turned out to be an enrollment application. School officials said they would not have enrolled the 'gator even if the cops had not taken the 'gator out. "The state would not pay us to educate an alligator," said a member of the school administration who spoke only on condition of redundancy. "The state would not pay us to educate an alligator," he redunded.

As the crossing guard and three heavily armed cops waited for a trapper to arrive, the alligator started walking toward the school with the other children. The cops then roped the gator's neck and tail as it rolled and thrashed. Its tail broke off chunks of stucco from a nearby wall. None of the other children were roped or otherwise deterred from entering the school.

Cops later secured the 'gator's mouth with black electrical tape and handcuffed its back legs. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials took custody of the 'gator until the trapper arrived. When the cops drug the 'gator into the bed of his truck the trapper examined the 'gator's enrollment application and shook his head silently, apparently sympathizing with the 'gator's wish to get an education and move out of the swamps, which now are heavily polluted in Florida.

Florida Meeks contributed to this article from Senegal