MUSCLE SHOALS — Mayor David Bradford is reviewing the termination of a city police officer who was fired after he shot and killed a deer while on duty.
Attorneys representing former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins pleaded their case to Bradford on Thursday afternoon.
Attorneys Billy Underwood and Johnnie Franks presented testimony and evidence to Bradford they hope will allow Scoggins to regain his job with the city.
“We appreciate the opportunity to be heard, and I’m entirely pleased how Mayor Bradford handled the hearing,” said Underwood.
Scoggins, who has been with the department since 2001, was placed on administrative leave with pay since Dec. 23 after the incident happened. He was terminated Dec. 27.
Officials said Scoggins is accused of shooting and killing the deer on Tennessee Valley Authority property that fronts Second Street.
TVA officials said the incident was turned over to the Alabama Department of Conservation.
Department of Conservation authorities filed warrants last week against Scoggins, 47, of Muscle Shoals. Reports indicate Scoggins was charged with reckless endangerment, hunting without a permit and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle.
All three charges are misdemeanors. Reckless endangerment is punishable by a year in jail and a fine if convicted, while the other two charges are punishable by fines.
Underwood said Scoggins doesn’t deny that he killed the deer on TVA property.
“We do deny that he shot toward Second Street and it wasn’t from his car,” Underwood said. “(Scoggins) got out of the (patrol) car, got his rifle out of his trunk and shot the deer.”
City officials said Scoggins was terminated because of conduct detrimental to the image of the city, having a personal weapon in a patrol car and endangering the welfare of citizens.
According to Muscle Shoals policy, Scoggins had three business days to appeal his termination directly to Bradford. If the mayor upholds the termination, Scoggins can appeal to the city’s Civil Service Board.
Underwood said they will appeal to the Civil Service Board if Thursday’s effort is not successful in getting Socggins’ job back and getting his punishment reduced.
Franks said Bradford told them during the hearing that the case has been weighing on his mind.
“He said he would take everything under consideration,” Franks said.
According to city officials, Bradford has the authority to dismiss the termination, uphold it or modify it with more or less punishment.
“Mayor Bradford was one of (Scoggins’) character references when he applied for the department in 2001,” Underwood said. “The mayor wasn’t wrong 12 years ago and he wouldn’t be wrong today if he allows (Scoggins) to remain as an officer with severe penalties for what he did.”
Franks said Scoggins is the caliber of officer that would make the city of Muscle Shoals the loser if it upholds dismissing Scoggins.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.