Germantown Hills, IL – An Illinois state trooper has been disciplined for giving his service shotgun to a citizen to destroy a wounded deer on the highway after somebody caught his actions on video (video below).
On Saturday, an anonymous person posted a video of the incident on YouTube.
Illinois State Police (ISP) Captain Steven Riesenberg, the District 8 commander, declined to confirm the identity of the trooper.
The trooper in the video is a veteran of District 8, which includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall, and Stark counties, the Journal Star reported.
“An investigation was conducted and discipline was handed down,” Capt. Riesenberg said.
He declined to say how the trooper was disciplined, but said the trooper had no prior instances of discipline.
Capt. Riesenberg said he also “remediated the trooper on the shot placement to dispatch a deer. There’s a very specific spot.”
The incident occurred on or about Dec. 12, near the Pinecrest Drive exit on Interstate 74.
The video showed the uniformed trooper carrying a shotgun, and walking with a man in plain clothes along the median of the highway.
They walked up to a deer in the middle of the road, which appeared to have been hit by a car. The deer was still alive, and trying to pull itself up to get away.
The video showed the trooper handing his shotgun to the citizen, in full view of other stopped traffic.
Then both men stood in the travel lane, while the citizen raised the shotgun and killed the deer, and the state trooper stood behind him.
The deer’s head dropped to the ground, and the video showed the trooper immediately took back his shotgun before the video ended.
The video was initially shared with a Woodland County Sheriff’s deputy, and eventually made its way to the attention of Capt. Riesenberg, according to Journal Star.
Police have not released the name of the person who took the video, or the name of the citizen who shot the deer.
Capt. Riesenberg declined to speak in detail about the video, but did briefly address the safety issues with regard to a trooper handing his weapon to a citizen.
“I understand your concern and I share that concern,” he said.
Capt. Riesenberg told the Journal Star that state laws do not address police officers’ responsibility for their service weapons, but that the ISP’s policies were clear.
“Policywise [for state police], that’s another story,” he said. “They [firearms] are to remain in the control and responsibility of the officer, to shoot the firearm … We are 100 percent responsible for any firearm issued to us.”
You can see the video of the incident below: