2 Clarksburg police officers resign to avoid prosecution - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

2 Clarksburg police officers resign to avoid prosecution

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Two Clarksburg police officers have resigned to avoid federal prosecution, U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II announced in a July 9 news conference.

As a result of their resignations, former chief Marshall Goff and former Lt. Tim Smith will not be charged with civil rights violations and making false statements to federal agents stemming from the investigation and charges facing Clarksburg Councilman Sam "Zeke" Lopez.  

According to the news release, Goff and Smith became involved in a response to a report of an alleged domestic battery involving 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 Goth 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 could not provide details on what the motive for Smith and Goff's actions were, but said he had his own "suspicions."

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.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office, Goff and Smith will not be able to seek or accept employment as police officers in the future.

Goff had earlier cited his resignation as a "family decision" and Robert Hilliard was appointed as the new interim Clarksburg police chief.

Goff became the interim chief in June 2007 after 23 years with the department.  He was sworn in to the full-time position in August 2007.  

Lopez's domestic battery case is being handled in state court by a special prosecuting attorney from Marion County.

The police department charged Lopez with one count of misdemeanor domestic battery. His wife, Linda, told officers that her husband grabbed her arm, pushed her to the ground, grabbed a rolling pin and hit her with it on the back and arm several times, according to the criminal complaint. Linda Lopez also told officers that her husband dumped food on her while she was on the ground.

Officers tried to arrest Lopez but couldn't locate him, the criminal complaint states. Lopez later turned himself in and was released on bond.

Lopez was re-elected to Clarksburg City Council in June.

Ihlenfeld said it's unclear if any other state, city or local officials will face charges in this matter. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Jamie Stover also contributed to this story.