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Lawsuit accuses Harford County Sheriff of interfering with deputy involved shooting investigation

Deputy-involved shooting in Forest Hill
Posted at 2:58 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 17:36:21-04

BEL AIR, Md. — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is accusing the Harford County Sheriff's Office of interfering with an independent investigation into Saturday's deputy involved shooting in Forrest Hill.

In a complaint filed in Harford County Circuit Court, Frosh alleges that Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler is refusing to provide his office with copies of body-worn and dash-board camera footage of the incident.

Frosh claims Gahler also prevented the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Unit from collecting evidence from the scene. He now wants a judge to issue a restraining order, forcing Gahler to hand over all the evidence.

According to the court filing, the Sheriff's Office had their own crime scene techs collect the evidence and have since failed to share it with the Attorney General's Independent Investigations Division, which is tasked with investigating all police-involved fatalities in the state.

Frosh says his investigators were only allowed to review camera footage of the incident under supervision of the Sheriff's Office, which he says is "antithetical to an independent investigation."

The case surrounds the death of 53-year-old John Raymond Fauver, of Whiteford.

Deputies got word that Fauver was suicidal, and possibly armed with a long gun near a shopping center off Rock Spring Road.

At some point during the encounter, Sergeant Bradford Sives and Corporal Christopher Maddox shot and killed Fauver.

RELATED: One man dead after Saturday's deputy-involved shooting in Forest Hill

On Monday, the Sheriff's Office cited its ongoing investigation as the reason for withholding camera footage of the shooting from the public.

They also claimed to be "working in conjunction [with] the Maryland Attorney General’s Independent Investigative Unit and investigators from the Maryland State Police, in accordance with Maryland law and HCSO policy."

According to the Sheriff's Office, the Independent Investigative Unit and Maryland State Police investigators "have had the opportunity and access to review all footage and they have viewed footage along with [Sheriff's Office] personnel."

Maryland state law gives the Attorney General’s Independent Investigative Unit full authority to investigate all police involved civilian deaths, but not the power to prosecute officers. That decision will ultimately be made by Harford County State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger.

Gahler has long been somewhat opposed to the powers given to the Independent Investigative Unit.

He has since amended the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Operations Policy, as it relates to civilian death cases involving police.

That policy states the Sheriff's Office will continue conducting its own investigations into such matters, that will supersede that of the Independent Investigations Division.