Boulder elk shooting: Suspended cop has taxidermy business

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Original post, 6:09 a.m. January 7: Never underestimate passions stirred by the death of an animal. Example: The shooting death of an elk well known to residents of Boulder's Mapleton neighborhood. Since the creature was killed on New Year's Day by an on-duty police officer later seen posing for a snapshot with the carcass (see it here), anger over the incident has led to the creation of a Facebook page devoted to the case, as well as a weekend vigil featured among the videos below.

At about 11 p.m. this past Tuesday, as our Sam Levin has reported, an officer later identified as Sam Carter, a five-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department, shot the elk , known by some residents as Big Boy, allegedly because one of its antlers was broken off and it was limping -- claims disputed by at least one neighbor. However, neither Carter nor fellow officer Brent Curnow, a thirteen-year BPD member called to the scene by Carter, reported the incident at the time. Moreover, a photo of Carter posing with the elk like a trophy subsequently surfaced. Here's how it looked in the Boulder Daily Camera:

Adding to the ire felt by locals with affectionate feelings for the elk, which was seen regularly throughout the area for the past several years, was a BPD release confirming that the elk's body was taken to Curnow's home for processing as meat.

On Friday, as questions about the shooting continued to grow, Carter and Curnow were placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation, and BPD chief Mark Beckner wrote a letter to the community explaining the process; see it below in its entirety. However, his words did placate visitors to Justice for the Mapleton Elk, a Facebook page that's garnered more than 600 likes at this writing. Here are two comments on a link about the letter:

'Paid leave' so will they have to repay the city for that time if convicted? Why not unpaid leave and IF they are not convicted they can collect?
I bet ya Chief Beckner is working so very hard to protect His BOULDER Barney Fife who was just itching to take down this beautiful animal as a CONQUEST to satisfy his EGO! NOW, Barney gets a paid VACATION at the Boulder taxpayers expense...HUMMMMM...Nice job if you can get it.
Continue to read more about the latest developments in the Boulder elk shooting.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts