Boulder officers suspended over Elk shooting

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BOULDER, Colo. – Two police officers involved in shooting an Elk in a west Boulder neighborhood have been suspended, the chief of police said Friday.

Chief Mark Beckner tweeted the officers were “placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations.”

An officer was on patrol near Mapleton Avenue and Ninth Street and shot the elk because it thought it had been injured. An off-duty officer helped him carry it away and process the elk for meat.

Neither officer reported shooting the elk.

In a news release, spokeswoman Kim Kobel identified the suspended officers as Sam Carter and Brent Curnow.  

"Once the investigations are completed, the information is forwarded to the employee’s chain of command for review and recommendations to the Chief of Police," Kobel said. "After this review, the report is reviewed by a panel made up of both citizens and sworn officers who also make recommendations to the Chief. The Chief of Police will make the final decision as to the disposition of the case and whether disciplinary measures may be appropriate."

Residents were angry when they heard about the elk’s death -- who they have nicknamed “Big Boy.”

“We just think it’s awful,” said Chelsea Flagg. “We just think there is something fishy about what went on.”

Beckner released a statement apologizing to the community for what he called “the unauthorized shooting of the animal.”

“We are in process of a personnel investigation into what policies were not followed and DOW (Division of Wildlife) is looking into the possible poaching of the elk by on and off-duty officers,” said Beckner.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has also launched an internal investigation to determine what role and on-duty sheriff’s deputy played that night.

The deputy reportedly helped load the elk onto a truck that night. The deputy is being investigated, but has not been put on leave, the Post reported.

Hunting is never allowed within Boulder city limits. Additionally, Colorado’s Samson’s Law says that the killing of trophy animals without a permit can carry a large fine up to $10,000 on top of other criminal penalties.