Former officers accused of shooting popular elk make first court appearance

A Boulder police officer with a dead elk (Photo: Lara Koenig).

A Boulder police officer with a dead elk (Photo: Lara Koenig).

BOULDER, Colo. — The killing of the Mapleton Elk touched a nerve in the city by the Flatirons.

Residents put out Christmas decorations as a memorial to the prized buck, others held a candlelight vigil, still more demanded and got a meeting with police chief Marc Beckner, who explained what led to his decision to first suspend, then accept resignations of the two Boulder officers involved–Brent Curnow and Sam Carter.

Cell phone records indicated the pair, along with an uncharged Boulder County Sheriff’s deputy, plotted as early as the day after Christmas, to kill the elk for meat and his antlers.

The pair appeared in court Thursday with their attorneys to find out about the charges they will face going forward.

Each faces nine charges. Three are felonies but some say the State Division of Parks and Wildlife didn’t file the toughest charge against the pair, felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

Rita Anderson, who is with In Defense of Animals, says she thinks the state is just trying to, in effect, “give the cops a break.”  She says just like the police chief did by not firing the pair… they were allowed to resign instead.

The men made no comment upon leaving the court house, but many in Boulder say their actions speak louder than words.

They say the men planned their actions with little regard for safety of residents living around 9th and Mapleton, where the shooting of the popular elk happened. Some residents said they had seen the elk in their neighborhood off and on for the last three years.

Some say that perhaps the most damming part of the whole story is one of the two officers also operates a taxidermy and game processing business.

Both are due back in court in April.