BEL AIR, Md. — A judge on Thursday ordered Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler to turn over all evidence related to last weekend's deputy involved shooting, to the Maryland Attorney General's Office.
Attorney General Brian Frosh had accused the Harford County Sheriff's Office of interfering with an independent investigation into the shooting death of 53-year-old John Raymond Fauver in Forrest Hill.
In a complaint filed in Harford County Circuit Court, Frosh alleged that Gahler refused to provide his office with copies of body-worn and dash-board camera footage of the deadly incident.
Frosh also requested that the judge force Gahler to allow the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Unit to evaluate evidence collected from the scene.
At the time of the incident, Frosh claims Gahler blocked those technicians from entering the crime scene.
He says Gahler only wanted his department's crime scene unit to process the evidence, and would only allow camera footage of the incident to be reviewed under supervision of the Sheriff's Office.
At the end of the hearing, the judge ruled in Frosh's favor by issuing a temporary restraining order against Gahler.
Following the ruling, Gahler said he would comply but is still unclear on exactly how state law works as it relates to the Attorney General’s Independent Investigative Unit.
Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation giving the Independent Investigative Unit full authority to investigate all police involved civilian deaths.
They do not however have the power to prosecute the officers involved . That decision is still ultimately up to Harford County State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger, who will review the Independent Investigative Unit's findings.
Gahler has long been somewhat opposed to the powers given to the Independent Investigative Unit.
He amended the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Operations Policy on civilian death cases involving police.
That policy states the Sheriff's Office's investigation into such matters supersedes the Independent Investigations Division. That was part of Gahler's unsuccessful defense in court Thursday.
Sheriff Gahler released a statement on today's decision: