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When James Hart and Khalilalim Abusakran saw a deer trapped in a frozen river outside Baltimore, they tried to do the right thing by freeing it – and they succeeded. But when they got to land, police officers with the Maryland Natural Resources Department were waiting for them with citations in hand. The reward for the rescue? Two $90 fines.

“We seen the deer going under,” Abusakran told the local media. “It couldn’t maintain. It was starting to freeze, and it was really getting bad.” So he and Hart decided to go out to it and free it from the ice it was stuck in. “We had oars and shovels to break the ice, for the deer to get out.”

But they didn't have life vests, as they were reminded by police officers bravely waiting onshore. Hart and Abusakran say they plan on fighting the citations in court.

They shouldn't have to, though. Colonel George F. Johnson, head of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, ought to have the tickets – which don't even list an actual offense, just the $90 fine – dismissed. Good Samaritans deserve commendations, not citations.

Photo Credit: jon


Letter to
Chief of the Maryland Natural Resources Police Col. George F. Johnson
I am writing to you because I believe Good Samaritans who risk their own lives to save another's deserve to be rewarded, not punished – and it unfortunately appears as if the Maryland Natural Resources Police don't agree.

As you know, two men, James Hart and Khalilalim Abusakran, were recently cited and fined by your officers after they helped free a deer that had become trapped in a frozen river. Rather than assist the men – or the deer -- your officers waited onshore, citations in hand.

When citizens act to save a life, they shouldn't have to worry that they'll be rewarded with a $90 fine. Please correct this injustice and have the citations against Hart and Abusakran dropped – immediately.

Charles Davis started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,685 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.