U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced Tuesday during a press conference that former Chief of Police Marshall Goff and former Lt. Tim Smith resigned July 8 to avoid federal charges.
U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld said Goff and Smith resigned to avoid being charged with civil rights violations and for making false statements to federal agents. The two men's actions occurred after officers responded to a report of an alleged domestic battery in April, 2013 in Clarksburg involving Clarksburg Councilman Sam "Zeke" Lopez.
Ihlenfeld said those false statements and inappropriate response stemmed from another investigation that involved Lopez, but would not provide additional details on what that misconduct or inappropriate response was.
"The actions of Goff and Smith occurred after a domestic incident that occurred in April 2013 in Clarksburg, in which members of the department responded to this alleged domestic. They became involved in the response to the domestic, and the actions they took in response to that domestic led to a separate investigation, one that was led by the FBI and the State Police," Ihlenfeld said.
Ihlenfeld said that investigation started after calls came in from members of the community, who had concerns about how it was being handled. At the press conference, Agent John Hambrick with the FBI said that his office was aware of other complaints regarding Lopez in the past, and discovered those complaints during its investigation of Goff and Smith.
"Our most important partner in fighting corruption is the public. It's the tips we receive, emails, phone calls, hundreds of piece of information we receive din the past year or so from the public. We received form this case, on our hotline for this case. We also received phone calls, not to our tip line, but straight to our office involving this case. The people that provided this information won't be disclosed here today, but we appreciate it," Ihlenfeld said.
Ihlenfeld could not provide details on what the motive for Smith and Goff's actions were, but said he had his own suspicions.
Goff and Smith's resignations are effective immediately and both are forbidden from ever seeking or accepting employment as police officers again. In agreements, both Goff and Smith have agreed to cooperate and be truthful in the investigation into the handling and response of the alleged domestic incident, according to the news release.
Ihlenfeld could not provide details on what sort of pensions and benefits Smith and Goff would or could receive following their termination, but said the immediate resignation and signed agreement was justice for their misconduct.
Ihlenfeld said it's unclear if any other state, city or local officials will face charges in this matter. The investigation is ongoing.
Ihlenfeld said that the investigation of Goff and Smith were separate from that of Lopez. He said that Lopez's case will be handled by a special prosecutor. The U.S. Attorney's Office started its investigation of Goff and Smith about a week after the incident in April.
The FBI and the West Virginia State Police, BCI, both of which are members of the W.Va. State Police Corruption Task Force, investigated the case.