Police At DNR Defend Fining Deer Rescuers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — No good deed goes unpunished.  That’s what some men learned after saving a deer from the frozen Patapsco River.

Despite public outcry, Weijia Jiang tells us those men will still have to pay a fine.

When two men braved an icy Patapsco River to pull a deer to safety Thursday night, strangers applauded the good deed.

“We seen the deer going under, it couldn’t maintain.  It started to freeze and was getting really bad,” said Khalil Abusakran.

Abusakran, 33, used a raft to get to the animal and Jim Hart, 46, went with him.

“We had oars, shovels, we were trying to break the ice for the deer to get out,” Abusakran said.

But authorities say their efforts broke the law.  A Natural Resources police officer on the scene gave the rescuers $90 tickets, a move the chief of police strongly defends.

“Our officers are trained to handle situations such as this.  Unfortunately, the citizenry out there are not,” said Col. George Johnson, DNR Police Superintendent. “We are held responsible for public safety.”

The citation itself doesn’t reflect a specific violation. The chief said there were many, despite—and in response to—a tremendous outpouring of public criticism.  He said they didn’t have life vests on and the alternative was jail.

“No, we didn’t have life vests on, but we’re not 16-years-old,” Abusakran said.

“They could have grabbed that boat and said no, ticket or get locked up, but they didn’t do that.  They let us go out numerous times, knew what we was doing,” said Hart.

It’s an argument both men promise to make in court.

The men say they would save the deer again, even with the resulting ticket.

They are scheduled to appear in court in February.


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