MUSCLE SHOALS — A Tuscumbia attorney, representing former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins, who was fired for shooting and killing a deer on federal property while on duty, said his client plans to appeal the termination.
Billy Underwood said Monday he has sent a letter to Muscle Shoals Police Chief Robert Evans and Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford informing them of his client’s decision to appeal the termination.
Evans said Scoggins, who had been with the department since December 2001, was terminated Thursday.
Scoggins had been on administrative leave with pay since the incident took place Dec. 23.
According to Muscle Shoals policy, Scoggins has 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.
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 he 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.
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, officials said.
In his appeal letter to Evans and Bradford, Underwood said it was interesting they mentioned the possession of firearms as a reason for termination.
“Being an attorney for over 30 years, I find it is common for police officers to carry a second gun, which is not their issued sidearm,” Underwood wrote. “I have also seen many police officers that carry their AR-15s in the trunk of their squad car.”
Reports indicate Scoggins is accused of bringing his own rifle with him to work that morning and using it to shoot the deer.
Officials said he was actually shooting toward Second Street and the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Underwood said there had been many wrecks on Second Street involving deer.
“This probably would be a good opportunity to do something to keep someone from being killed by a deer crossing Second Street into the city limits from the
TVA Reservation. It’s a hazard that may have grave consequences,” Underwood wrote in the letter.
Underwood also pointed out in the appeal letter that in Scoggins’ career with the Muscle Shoals Police Department there are “no reprimands, complaints, or incidents worthy of censure” in his record.
“He has an immaculate record. He should not receive the draconian punishment of dismissal,” Underwood said.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.