MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – The former Muscle Shoals police officer accused of shooting a deer while on duty has appealed his termination from the department.
Attorneys for Greg Scoggins say the officer had a “flawless” record as an officer.
Lawyers representing the former officer say the punishment of losing his job, doesn’t fit the crime of shooting a deer on federal property.
The police veteran worked with the department for 12 years. Scoggins got terminated after investigators say he fired a single shot at a 10 point buck on TVA property.
“On a personal level, he`s devastated,” said Scoggins’ attorney, Billy Underwood.
Detectives say Scoggins pulled out his own rifle from the trunk of his patrol car, then shot and killed the deer along Second Street in Muscle Shoals.
“There’s not one single predator for those deer on the TVA reservation, they`ve been there for over 90 years and maybe they should be relocated or something needs to be done,” said Underwood.
Scoggins’ attorney says dozens of car versus deer accidents happen out on Second Street every year. According to the attorney, Scoggins shot the deer in order to protect the public-not for his personal gain.
“We maintain he is not the “deer slayer” that the community wants to put out,” said another attorney working on the case, Johnnie Franks. “If anything, his actions were of public interest just as his job as a servant is to the people of Muscle Shoals.”
However, prosecutors question that motive and charged Scoggins’ with reckless endangerment, hunting without a permit and hunting with the help of a motor vehicle.
Whether the deer got shot for hunting or public interest remains up to a judge and the Muscle Shoals Civil Service Board. However, according to investigators, after Scoggins shot the animal, he called a friend to load it up and haul it away.
“I can imagine if you are in a patrol car and you shoot an animal you`re not going to have a 10 point rack on the front of your hood or on the back of the vehicle,” said Underwood. “It is true, someone else came and picked up the deer.”
Attorneys want Scoggins back on the force and say the former officer is being held to a higher standard than the average citizen.
“We want the message sent that the law is going to be applied equally. The law is going to be fair, and there will be an appropriate punishment, for actions that were taken, but we do not feel like this is what needs to happen to Officer Scoggins,” said Franks. “Certainly not based on his service to Muscle Shoals.”
Scoggins and his attorneys will meet with the Muscle Shoals Mayor Thursday afternoon for a review hearing. At that time, lawyers can ask for a full trial in front of the Muscle Shoals Civil Service Board.