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LEONARDTOWN, Md. (May 22, 2008) -- The Bureau of Professional Responsibility (internal affairs) with the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office charged a deputy with assaulting a man last week after the man was arrested and subdued by law enforcement for allegedly assaulting the deputy.
Deputy David Adam Goff, 33, remains suspended with pay after the May 13 incident that took place near Mattapani Road.
Goff has been charged with 2nd degree assault for allegedly attacking Shane Weasenforth, 25, as well as several charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving while impaired.
Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron said that Goff retained his pay while on suspension due to provisions in the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
"It's consistent with law," Cameron said. "If it was a felony you could suspend them without pay."
Cameron said that the day to day operations of the agency were not significantly affected by the charges stemming from the incident but there was still concern.
"People are paying close attention to this, both in the community and in the department," Cameron said. "They [fellow deputies] are concerned for their co-worker, their agency and their profession."
Frank Marquart, president of Lodge 7 of the county's Fraternal Order of Police, could not be reached for comment as of press time to determine whether they were assisting in Goff's legal defense.
David Weiskopf, attorney for Weasenforth, also could not be reached as of press time Tuesday.
According to charging documents against Goff and information from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, the incident began when Goff was traveling south bound on Route 235 in the St. James area at about 7p.m.
Goff observed Weasenforth driving an all-terrain vehicle on the side of the road and flagged down the driver by flashing the headlights of his 2003 Dodge truck.
Charging documents state that, according to Goff, he got out of his truck and asked Weasenforth to not drive on the roadway.
Weasenforth became uncooperative, Goff said in charging documents, and spat on the off-duty deputy and drove away.
As Goff was preparing to leave, charging documents stated, he noticed a marked police cruiser driven by Senior Deputy First Class Dale Reppel, flagged him down, and got in the car with Reppel to go find Weasenforth.
They located Weasenforth, who allegedly tried to punch Goff after spitting on him a second time, charging documents stated.
Weasenforth was later charged with second degree assault and resisting arrest during the incident.
Reppel and Goff subdued Weasenforth and arrested him for attempting to assault Goff and after a short struggle, Weasenforth complied with Reppel's orders, charging documents stated.
But, charging documents state, Goff struck Weasenforth three to four times in the head with his fist after he was subdued and handcuffed.
Reppel got between Goff and Weasenforth to stop the assault, charging papers stated.
When Lt. Rick Burris, commander of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations came on the scene to find out what had transpired, law officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Goff's breath, charging documents and information from the sheriff's office stated.
Deputies administered a breath test that showed Goff had a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit, at the time of the incident, charging documents stated. Goff admitted to deputies that he had been operating his vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit, the charging document stated.
"We started our investigation on the scene," said Cameron. "We didn't wait for complaints from the family or anyone else."
State's Attorney Richard Fritz was consulted during the investigation, charging documents stated and advised charging Goff with the assault and drunken driving.
If convicted of the assault charge, Goff faces 10 years in prison.
Goff is scheduled for a preliminary hearing July 11 in District Court.
DRUNK DEPUTY BEAT UP MAN; COPS ARRESTED NOT THE DEPUTY, BUT THE CITIZEN!, St. Mary's Today, May 14, 2008
Includes an interview with Shane Weasenforth
Press Release from the Sheriff's Office Released on May 20, 2008
On May 20, 2008, Investigators from the St. Mary's County Bureau of Professional Responsibilities (BPR) served the defendant, David Adam Goff with a criminal summons charging him with 2nd degree assault, driving under the influence of alcohol, and other related offenses.
The investigation determined that on May 13, 2008, Goff, an off-duty St. Mary's County deputy sheriff was driving southbound on Rt. 235 in the area of Mattapany Rd. Lexington Park, MD in his personally owned vehicle. Goff observed an ATV being operated on the roadway by Shane Weasenforth. The ATV was stopped by Goff and an argument ensued. Mr. Weasenforth allegedly spit at Goff and drove off. Goff flagged down an on duty deputy sheriff who located the ATV operator. When Goff and the on duty deputy sheriff located Mr. Weasenforth, Goff exited the on duty deputy's vehicle and approached Mr. Weasenforth. As Goff approached Mr. Weasenforth, Mr. Weasenforth attempted to strike Goff. Mr. Weasenforth was taken to the ground with the assistance of the on duty deputy where he briefly struggled against the officers. Mr. Weasenforth stopped resisting the officers' attempts to handcuff him; however, Goff continued striking Mr. Weasenforth in the head. The on-duty deputy intervened and protected Mr. Weasenforth from further assault.
During the incident off-duty sheriff's lieutenant Rick Burris arrived on the scene. After observing Goff acting inappropriately, Lt. Burris immediately initiated a preliminary investigation and directed Goff be removed to a nearby location where he was administered a Preliminary Breath Test. Probable cause was developed to suggest Goff had operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Goff was transported to the Sheriff's Office for further investigation by the Bureau of Professional Responsibilities (Internal Affairs). The incident was reviewed with the State's Attorney's Office and the following charges were agreed upon:
1) Assault 2nd Degree
2) Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
3) Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol - Per Se
4) Driving While Impaired
The administrative investigation into the entire incident is continuing. The defendant remains suspended with pay until the conclusion of the administrative/criminal investigation.