Police: Man practiced karate on beloved Lake Eola Park swans

A man was arrested Thursday for animal cruelty after several witnesses told police he was kicking swans at Lake Eola Park.  The swans are often considered the mascots of the Downtown Orlando park.

“I feel like when you think of Lake Eola, you’re just thinking of the swans,” said Rachael Gonsalves. 

Orlando Police say 34-year-old Rocco Mantella, of Jacksonville Beach, attacked the swans. According to his arrest report, several people saw it happen since it was around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. One witness told officers that Mantella was practicing karate and kicked two swans in the head. Another person said Mantella looked at her and laughed while he harassed the animals. 

Once police got to the park, the report says they tracked him down fast. He was charged with animal cruelty. 

Mantella, who has a Jacksonville Beach address, was also before a judge in Orange County on Tuesday. Records show that case stems from a trespassing incident at Disney in March. 

Only a few days out of jail, he was booked back in. The swan attacks have left a lot of regular park goers dumbfounded. 

“I don’t know why somebody would do that,” said Vance Peters, who was at the park Thursday.