MUSCLE SHOALS — Mayor David Bradford on Friday upheld the termination of a city police officer who was fired for shooting and killing a deer while on duty, officials said.
Former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins was terminated Dec. 27. City officials said he shot and killed a deer on the Tennessee Valley Authority that fronts Second Street. The incident happened Dec. 23.
Scoggins, who had been with the department since 2001, was placed on administrative leave before his termination.
Bradford said after reviewing testimony and evidence presented during an informal appeal hearing Thursday, he issued his ruling, upholding the termination.
The mayor said Friday’s decision came after reviewing the “entire matter.”
“This was nothing we take lightly,” Bradford said. “The facts of the case stood for themselves. Being on duty and in uniform and committing the violation.
“We hold our officers to a high standard for their decisions.”
According to city officials, Bradford had the authority to dismiss the termination, uphold it or modify it by adding more punishment or reducing punishment.
Bradford said Scoggins has 10 days to appeal his decision to the Civil Service Board. Scoggins’ attorneys, David Underwood and Johnnie Franks, said they will appeal.
Underwood said the decision wasn’t a “setback” to the case’s strategy.
“We were planning the appeal just in case,” Underwood said. “I thought there was some hope (that Scoggins could be put back to work in some fashion), but we were ready to appeal and we will move forward with the Civil Service Board.”
Last week, following an investigation into the allegations, the Alabama Department of Conservation filed warrants charging Scoggins 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 killing the deer on TVA property.
“We do deny that he shot toward Second Street and it wasn’t from his car,” Underwood said.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.