Harford County sheriff interfering in investigation, AG says

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office on Monday is seeking a temporary restraining order based on accusations that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office is interfering with an investigation into Saturday’s fatal shooting.| PDF: Court documents filed by the attorney generalDeputies shot a suicidal man Saturday afternoon in Forest Hill, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said. The sheriff’s office said deputies the man was believed to be armed with a long gun. “After searching for nearly an hour, and phone conversations with the adult individual, he was located behind the CVS store in Forest Hill. The interaction concluded with deputies discharging their firearms,” Gahler said Saturday.Authorities said the man was taken to a hospital, where he died. The sheriff’s office identified the man Sunday as John Raymond Fauver, 53, of Whiteford.Under state law, a fatal shooting by law enforcement must be investigated by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Independent Investigations Division. On Saturday, Gahler said the sheriff’s office is “fully cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation.”But a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said a short time later that was not what’s happening.”They are not allowing (Maryland State Police), which is an independent body that we partner with in these cases, to collect the evidence. They are collecting the evidence, which runs counter to the purpose of the law, which is for these investigations to be independent,” said Raquel Coombs, a representative for the attorney general’s office.AG accuses sheriff’s office of ‘interfering’ with investigation”The Sheriff’s Office is interfering with the division’s investigation in this case. This interference with an independent investigation is in violation of the law. The people of Maryland deserve better, and we will fight to see that they get it,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement released Monday afternoon.In court documents filed Monday, the attorney general said the Harford County Sheriff’s Office refused to allow the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Unit, an independent body, to collect the evidence in accordance with the IID’s standard protocols.The court filing states: “At approximately 6:40 p.m., in a telephone conversation between Independent Investigations Division Chief Dana Mulhauser and Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, Sheriff Gahler stated unequivocally that he was refusing to allow MSP to collect evidence.””The HCSO insisted instead that its own employees collect the evidence,” the attorney general’s statement said. “The HCSO did not begin collecting that evidence until after MSP evidence technicians were present and available to do so in a reliable, independent manner. That evidence has not been provided to the IID in the two days since the fatality occurred.”AG: Sheriff’s office refused to provide copies of videoThe attorney general further said the sheriff’s office refused to provide copies of any video of the incident to IID investigators, including the body-worn cameras of the involved and witness deputies, as well as dashboard cameras and additional video from non-law-enforcement sources.The court filing states: “Harford County State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger advised that while the Independent Investigations Division could watch the footage in a mobile HCSO command center, the HCSO would not provide electronic copies of the requested material to the Independent Investigations Division.”Earlier Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office tweeted that state police and attorney general’s office investigators have had an opportunity to review body-worn camera video along with sheriff’s office personnel.”In the spirit of full cooperation, they continue to have complete and unfettered access to view any footage or evidence they need as we move forward,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet.The attorney general responded to the sheriff’s proposed alternative — that the IID review the videos only under HCSO supervision — as antithetical to an independent investigation.The sheriff’s office said it intends to release video to the public after the conclusion of the investigation.Gahler respondsGahler is spoke with 11 News on Monday evening, defending his actions, after he was accused of interfering with a state investigation.Gahler said his office is following its policies, which he said are in accordance with Maryland law. He calls the attorney general’s court action political in nature. “The general assembly passed a law, and we are following the law. My concern in some of my previous correspondence and communication with the attorney general is that he issued — he called them protocols — that were not founded in law, they were just his office’s whimsical decisions. They did not carry the weight of law,” Gahler said.Gahler said the issue will be settled by the courts.Deputies identifiedThe sheriff’s office on Monday identified the deputies who shot Fauver as Sgt. Sives and Cpl. Maddox.Sives joined the agency in 2007 and is currently assigned to the Police Operations Bureau in the Northern Precinct.Cpl. Maddox also joined the agency in 2007 and is currently assigned to the Investigative Services Bureau in the Criminal Investigations Division.Both deputies remain on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the continuing investigation.This report will be updated.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office on Monday is seeking a temporary restraining order based on accusations that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office is interfering with an investigation into Saturday’s fatal shooting.

| PDF: Court documents filed by the attorney general

Deputies shot a suicidal man Saturday afternoon in Forest Hill, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said. The sheriff’s office said deputies the man was believed to be armed with a long gun.

“After searching for nearly an hour, and phone conversations with the adult individual, he was located behind the CVS store in Forest Hill. The interaction concluded with deputies discharging their firearms,” Gahler said Saturday.

Authorities said the man was taken to a hospital, where he died. The sheriff’s office identified the man Sunday as John Raymond Fauver, 53, of Whiteford.

Under state law, a fatal shooting by law enforcement must be investigated by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Independent Investigations Division. On Saturday, Gahler said the sheriff’s office is “fully cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation.”

But a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said a short time later that was not what’s happening.

“They are not allowing (Maryland State Police), which is an independent body that we partner with in these cases, to collect the evidence. They are collecting the evidence, which runs counter to the purpose of the law, which is for these investigations to be independent,” said Raquel Coombs, a representative for the attorney general’s office.

AG accuses sheriff’s office of ‘interfering’ with investigation

“The Sheriff’s Office is interfering with the division’s investigation in this case. This interference with an independent investigation is in violation of the law. The people of Maryland deserve better, and we will fight to see that they get it,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

In court documents filed Monday, the attorney general said the Harford County Sheriff’s Office refused to allow the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Unit, an independent body, to collect the evidence in accordance with the IID’s standard protocols.

The court filing states: “At approximately 6:40 p.m., in a telephone conversation between Independent Investigations Division Chief Dana Mulhauser and Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, Sheriff Gahler stated unequivocally that he was refusing to allow MSP to collect evidence.”

“The HCSO insisted instead that its own employees collect the evidence,” the attorney general’s statement said. “The HCSO did not begin collecting that evidence until after MSP evidence technicians were present and available to do so in a reliable, independent manner. That evidence has not been provided to the IID in the two days since the fatality occurred.”

AG: Sheriff’s office refused to provide copies of video

The attorney general further said the sheriff’s office refused to provide copies of any video of the incident to IID investigators, including the body-worn cameras of the involved and witness deputies, as well as dashboard cameras and additional video from non-law-enforcement sources.

The court filing states: “Harford County State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger advised that while the Independent Investigations Division could watch the footage in a mobile HCSO command center, the HCSO would not provide electronic copies of the requested material to the Independent Investigations Division.”

Earlier Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office tweeted that state police and attorney general’s office investigators have had an opportunity to review body-worn camera video along with sheriff’s office personnel.

“In the spirit of full cooperation, they continue to have complete and unfettered access to view any footage or evidence they need as we move forward,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet.

The attorney general responded to the sheriff’s proposed alternative — that the IID review the videos only under HCSO supervision — as antithetical to an independent investigation.

The sheriff’s office said it intends to release video to the public after the conclusion of the investigation.

Gahler responds

Gahler is spoke with 11 News on Monday evening, defending his actions, after he was accused of interfering with a state investigation.

Gahler said his office is following its policies, which he said are in accordance with Maryland law. He calls the attorney general’s court action political in nature.

“The general assembly passed a law, and we are following the law. My concern in some of my previous correspondence and communication with the attorney general is that he issued — he called them protocols — that were not founded in law, they were just his office’s whimsical decisions. They did not carry the weight of law,” Gahler said.

Gahler said the issue will be settled by the courts.

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Deputies identified

The sheriff’s office on Monday identified the deputies who shot Fauver as Sgt. Sives and Cpl. Maddox.

Sives joined the agency in 2007 and is currently assigned to the Police Operations Bureau in the Northern Precinct.

Cpl. Maddox also joined the agency in 2007 and is currently assigned to the Investigative Services Bureau in the Criminal Investigations Division.

Both deputies remain on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the continuing investigation.

This report will be updated.

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