The Boulder, Colo., community gathered today for a walk to honor an elk that was shot and killed by a police officer two weeks ago.
Those who participated in the walk were asked to play an audio file of an elk from their cell phones as they walked silently.
“We are concerned that the investigation will drag its feet. We will not,” organizers said on Facebook.
Two police officers in Boulder have been suspended and are under criminal investigation for their role in killing a large bull elk that wandered into a residential neighborhood on New Year’s Day.
An officer was on patrol when he spotted a large male elk that appeared to be limping and had broken antlers, the Boulder Police Department said in a press release after the incident.
“In his judgment, he believed the elk needed to be humanely euthanized,” the release said. “The officer dispatched the elk with one shot from his shotgun and called another off-duty officer to come pick up the elk carcass.”
The off-duty officer, the release said, took the animal to process for meat for his own personal use.
The killing of the large trophy animal then became a bit of a mystery, after Boulder police initially denied that their officers were involved. That’s because the department says the two unidentified officers never told anyone about the shooting, as required.
“In this case it appears that the officers involved did not follow standard procedures in alerting police dispatch, contacting a supervisor about how to deal with the injured elk or following up with a written incident report,” Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner wroter in a letter to the community.
Both officers, identified as Sam Carter and Brent Curnow, are now off the streets and Beckner has apologized.
“Two officers involved in Elk shooting incident have been placed on Admin Leave w/pay pending the outcome of investigations,” Beckner tweeted.
The cops are now the focus of an internal affairs probe in addition to a criminal investigation being conducted by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
Samson’s Law, named after a massive bull elk that was killed in the Colorado town of Estes Park in 1995, carries fines up to $10,000 for illegally hunting trophy animals.
The Justice for the Mapleton Elk Facebook page had 839 “likes” as of this afternoon.