The Boulder Cruiser Ride is one of the area's favorite regular activities, with peddlers of every stripe taking it to the streets side by side, often wearing outfits and costumes related to themes. But while most of the latter are of the just-for-fun variety -- upcoming concepts include "Voodoo Island Tiki Ride" and "It's a Square Dancin' Ho Down!" -- the one on tap for tonight is both topical and pointed. "The Ride for Big Boy" honors the Mapleton elk shot to death in January the night before two Boulder Police officers charged in the killing are arraigned. Details below.
As New Year's Day police shooting of an elk, an officer later identified as Samuel Carter shot and killed a bull elk in the area of Ninth Avenue and Mapleton Street after 11 p.m. on January 1. According to the initial Boulder Police news release, Carter was on routine patrol when he saw the elk, which he says appeared to be injured. Some of the elk's antlers had been broken off and it was limping, police said.
"In the officer's judgment, the animal needed to be humanely put down," read the statement. The officer fired one shot from a shotgun, killing the elk, which was in a residential yard. That animal was then "taken home to be processed for meat by another officer [Brent Curnow], who was off-duty at the time."
It didn't take long for this story to unravel. For one thing, neither Carter nor Curnow had immediately reported the incident. This news was followed by an image of Carter happily posing with the dead animal, as seen in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Next came word that Curnow runs his own taxidermy business -- a revelation that further fueled the anger of residents upset by what had happened and doubtful that the elk had been injured.
The Boulder District Attorney's Office soon launched an investigation to determine if criminal charges against Carter and Curnow were warranted -- and prosecutors ultimately determined that they were. The officers were booked on a mix of felony charges (including forgery, tampering with physical evidence and attempting to influence a public official) and misdemeanors (such as killing an elk out of season and unlawful taking of a trophy elk).
The Boulder Cruiser Ride's website notes that Carter and Curnow are slated for arraignment tomorrow -- and tonight's theme makes it clear how organizers feel about the act the pair are charged with committing. Here's how they put it.
The post reads:
May 30th Theme -- Justice for the Mapleton Elk
On May 30th, the Thursday Night Cruiser Ride will ride for Justice. We will ride to commemorate the life of the beloved Mapleton Elk, Big Boy.
Please join us at Green Leaf Park (Pearl/Folsom) at 7:30 p.m. for a community bike ride through Boulder. We will visit Mapleton Hill and pay our respects to Big Boy and then ride to the Boulder Justice Center.
Wear your Antlers, honk your horns, and ride for justice.
What about folks who don't have any antlers? The Justice for the Mapleton Elk Facebook page is here to help, posting an image of an antler and masks adapted from the mug shots of Carter and Curnow:
Look below to see booking photos of Carter and Curnow, a video from a candlelight vigil held for the elk and the original affidavit for Samuel Carter.
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More from our News archive: "Boulder elk shooting: Suspended cop has taxidermy business."