Sheriff Gahler Fires Back At Independent Investigation Division Over Officer Involved Shooting Report
HARFORD COUNTY - Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler released a statement on Friday expressing displeasure with how the Attorney General's Independent Investigation Division (IID) investigated a shooting involving his officers that left one man dead.
On Monday of last week, the IID released a 48-page report detailing how Harford County Sheriff's deputies Sgt. Bradford Sives and Cpl. Christopher Maddox shot and killed 53-year-old John Fauver.
Gahler's ten-minute-long video statement released on the Harford County Sheriff's Facebook page lists several concerns regarding how the report was filed.
The sheriff questions the report's quality and accuracy, saying that this report "calls into question the IID's ability and independent, transparent, or accurate and unbiased investigation that the public can trust."
He also denies that the Sheriff's Office refused to cooperate with the investigation.
"The fact that the IID report states very clearly that their investigators were prevented from viewing any body camera or other video footage recovered by the Harford County Sheriff's Office… is not a simple mistake, but rather a mischaracterization of reality," Gahler said.
According to the report, the Harford County Sheriff's Office only allowed IID personnel to view some of the footage of the incident in a mobile command center alongside county staff. The report says that IID personnel were not granted access to electronic copies of requested footage.
In the video, Gahler defended his approach to the investigation:
"As I've said for nearly a year, it's the duty and function of local law enforcement to investigate potential crime or criminal acts that occur within the boundaries of our county and which are absolutely outside the purview of IID."
Gahler also asserts that the report mischaracterizes his deputies' actions, alleging that the report intended to bias or mislead readers.
"Very telling and troubling is the fact that each deputy in this investigation is looked at in a different manner at the time of the fatal shooting," Gahler said. "The purpose in the less specific description is clear: to bias or mislead the reader."
He also expressed discontent with how the report contained biographical information about Fauver but omitted his criminal history.
"Most egregious—and certainly most unacceptable in this report—is the absolute lack of reference to the criminal actions that led up to this deadly encounter," he said.
The Maryland Office of the Attorney General released a response to Gahler's video, saying that the IID's investigation was conducted with "great care."
"The Office of the Attorney General treats the authority granted to us by the Maryland General Assembly with great care, integrity, and professionalism," AG spokesperson Jennifer Donelan said in a statement. "We have been entrusted by the people of the State to remain steadfast in that commitment."