It's been a while since we had any mascot-attack stories, but it still does not appear to be safe out there for the nation's brave mascots.
On March 1, McGruff the Crime Dog was passing out flyers to children in northwest Washington, D.C., when a city bus pulled up to the curb. The driver got out, calmly adjusted both side mirrors, and then calmly punched McGruff in the face. According to the report, "McGruff staggered, children screamed," and the attacker got back on the bus and drove away.
This did not appear to have been a premeditated attack. Had the guy meditated on it a bit, he might have realized that somebody in a McGruff costume is not unlikely to be a cop, and/or that other cops are likely to be nearby. This McGruff was in fact a D.C. police officer, and the officers working with him had the bus pulled over within three blocks. They arrested 38-year-old Shawn Brim, who was charged with assault.
McGruff was not seriously injured, but did call in sick the following Monday because of a bruised cheek. Brim reportedly told his supervisor he was "trying to be funny," but according to a D.C. Metro spokesperson, "nobody here finds it funny, believe me." (I think maybe she has not asked everybody yet.) She said Brim's career as a bus driver is "under review," a term that generally means "over."
This was at least the second mascot attack in the general area in as many weeks. On February 19, a Chick-fil-A Cow mascot was tackled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, by an unidentified man. Because of the configuration of his giant mascot head (the same reason McGruff could not see the punch coming), the cow said he had been unable to get a good look at his assailant.
Police said they had few leads.