A former police officer in Boulder, Colorado has been found guilty of killing an elk while on duty early last year.
Reports say that Sam Carter was on duty when he shot and killed the elk on Mableton Hill. The bull elk had become somewhat of a celebrity in the local community and was known to locals as “Big Boy.” Pictures surfaced of Carter posing with the dead elk’s body, and after he was questioned, he attempted to use his standing as a police officer to cover up what he did.
Initially, Carter said that the beloved elk was wounded and that he was putting it down, but after a lengthy investigation, text messages were discovered that proved Carter had planned the killing prior. After fatally shooting the beloved animal, Carter called a friend and former cop to help him pick up the dead elk and butcher it. Reports say that Carter even went so far as to forge a tag so that he could pretend it was road kill.
"This was about something that is essential to every community, and that is integrity in public service," said District Attorney Stan Garnett. “I didn't want to have lost in the rigmarole of the criminal charges the majesty of this animal and its impact on the community. People who want to tease Boulder about this case have probably never seen an elk quite like this."
Local residents believe that justice has finally been served, and although many see this as just an animal being killed, they believe this case shines a light on corruption in the police force.
"It is so rare for an animal to get any semblance of justice in our court system,” said resident Jessica Sandler. "Though we'd much rather have the elk back alive, hopefully a lying and corrupt cop will be going to jail for betraying the public trust in such an egregious fashion."
According to the Daily Camera, Carter was convicted on nine counts, including “first-degree official misconduct, illegal possession of a trophy elk with a Samson Law surcharge, conspiracy to commit illegal possession of wildlife, unlawful taking of a big game animal out of season, and unlawful use of an electronic communication device to unlawfully take wildlife.”
Carter now faces up to six years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.