Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Frosh seeks court order in fatal police shooting case

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sought a court order on Monday to stop the Harford County Sheriff’s Office from “interfering” with a legally required investigation by his office of a fatal police-involved shooting. His office said sheriff’s employees prevented state investigators from collecting crime scene evidence and refused to share copies of video recordings.

The sheriff’s office, meanwhile, said in a statement Monday that it continues to work “in conjunction” with the AG’s Independent Investigation’s Division and Maryland State Police investigators, in accordance with state law and sheriff’s office policy.

The sheriff’s office identified the two deputies involved in Saturday’s shooting as Sgt. Bradford Sives and Cpl. Christopher Maddox, and said both are on routine administrative leave pending the outcome.

The deputies were responding to reports that a man was “reportedly suicidal” and believed to be armed at about 3 p.m. at a Harford County shopping center near Bel Air when they encountered him behind a store and fired on him. John Raymond Fauver, 53, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The sheriff’s office notified the independent division on Saturday that two of its deputies had shot and killed a civilian in Forest Hill, according to documents filed Monday.

Investigators from the division, the Maryland State Police homicide unit and state forensic experts began arriving within 40 minutes to process the crime scene, collect evidence and interview witnesses, the court documents said.

The attorney general’s office said the Harford County Sheriff’s Office refused to allow the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Unit, which is another independent body, to collect evidence in the case in accordance with the investigative division’s protocols.

“The HCSO insisted instead that its own employees collect the evidence,” the attorney general’s office said in a news release. “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.”

The evidence has not been provided to the attorney general’s investigative division in the two days since the fatality occurred, the attorney general’s office said.

The sheriff’s office also refused to share with the division copies of any video recordings, including the body-worn cameras of Sives and Maddox and other officers at the scene, dashboard cameras and additional video from non-law-enforcement sources, the attorney general’s office said.

Having copies of those videos for analysis is crucial to conducting an independent investigation, said the attorney general’s office, which filed a complaint Monday seeking a temporary restraining order against the sheriff’s office.

“The Sheriff’s Office is interfering with the Division’s investigation in this case,” Frosh said in the statement. “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.”

But the sheriff’s office said investigators from the division and state police “have had the opportunity and access to review all footage and they have viewed footage along with HCSO 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.

Last year, as part of a package of police reform measures, the Maryland General Assembly created an independent unit within the Attorney General’s Office, called the Independent Investigations Division, to investigate all police-involved fatalities, and required local law-enforcement agencies to cooperate with the division’s investigations.

Brian Witte reports for The Associated Press.