BEL AIR (WJZ) — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will be in Harford County court Thursday seeking a judgment against Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler.
The legal battle is centered on the authority of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigative Division regarding a fatal deputy-involved shooting Saturday.READ MORE: Two Teenagers Shot, One Killed, At Inner Harbor During Memorial Day Weekend, Police Say
Deputies shot and killed John Raymond Fauver, 53, of Whiteford, Saturday after responding to a call of a “suicidal” armed man, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
By law, the Office of Attorney General is tasked with investigating the “police-involved death of a civilian.”
Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler says his office has custody of all the evidence in the case, specifically the body-worn camera video.
“If they’re in possession of (Body Worn Camera video) and they decide to release it outside the wishes of the State’s Attorney, that is certainly something, I believe, contrary to law, but contrary to being able to conduct a complete and unbiased investigation,” Gahler said.
Court filings show Harford County Sheriff’s Office insisted its employees collect the evidence on the scene. Gahler said state investigators were able to watch and review evidence.
“They have complete and unfettered access to all the evidence, including bodycam footage,” Gahler told WJZ Monday.READ MORE: Jarrettsville Young Marines Honor Fallen Heroes, Prepare For Memorial Day
Frosh says Gahler and his office are “interfering” with the investigation and such interference from local law enforcement agencies is “antithetical to an independent investigation.”
Gahler, a Republican, meanwhile, claims Frosh, a Democrat, is politicizing the incident.
A new law (Ch. 141) signed by Governor Hogan earlier this month strengthens the Attorney General’s authority in these investigations and goes into effect in July.
“The purpose of this new law is to prevent the appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety,” attorney Warren Alperstein told WJZ Wednesday. “This specialized unit with the state police is to conduct its own investigation. They are the lead.”
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office identified the deputies as Sgt. Bradford Sives and Cpl. Christopher Maddox. Both are placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
Frosh will personally argue the case at 9:30 Thursday morning at Harford County Circuit Court, according to the Office of the Attorney General.
The Independent Investigations Division, which handles investigations into deadly incidents involving police, was formed in response to several police reform bills passed by the General Assembly last year.MORE NEWS: Baltimore City And Surrounding Communities Experiencing High Community Transmission Of COVID-19
Read Frosh’s full court filing, and Gahler’s opposition, below: