Kershaw Sheriff, sheriff’s office, and former deputy face 3rd lawsuit over deputy’s alleged actions

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Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:47 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2022 at 7:59 PM EST
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CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - Kershaw County’s top law enforcement officer is now facing a third lawsuit over allegations related to a former deputy.

Sheriff Lee Boan, former KCSO Deputy Johnathan Goldsmith and the sheriff’s office are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Camden attorneys Deborah Butcher and Brett Perry filed the lawsuit on behalf of Shaun Hayward Prescott in relation to a Feb. 28, 2020 traffic stop.

They allege Goldsmith began a traffic stop of Prescott because Prescott did not dim his high-beam lights.

The lawsuit states Goldsmith asked Prescott to perform a sobriety test, which Prescott refused. The attorneys then write Goldsmith attempts to unlawfully arrest Prescott, and Prescott resists.

It reads:

During the course of this unlawful arrest, the Plaintiff lawfully resisted Deputy Johnathan Goldsmith’s efforts to detain him and when physically attacked by Deputy Goldsmith, the Plaintiff attempted to defend himself.

After severely beating and illegally arresting the Plaintiff, Deputy Johnathan Goldsmith and others under his direction, illegally searched the Plaintiff’s girlfriend’s vehicle and illegally seized a pistol that belonged to her, which was located under the driver’s seat, and of which the Plaintiff had been unaware.

The attorneys write Goldsmith proceeded to charge Prescott with resisting arrest and unlawfully carrying a pistol, which were both dismissed.

Kershaw County court records reflect those dismissals.

The lawsuit then alleges Boan was familiar with Goldsmith’s alleged behavior during their time together at Camden PD and KCSO and failed to curb it. It mirrors allegations made in two previous lawsuits naming Boan and Goldsmith.

A WIS investigation identified two documented instances of Boan being confronted with the behavior of Goldsmith before an October 2020 alleged assault which triggered a SLED investigation, two criminal charges, Goldsmith’s termination and the first lawsuit.

Boan fired Goldsmith on Nov. 13, 2020.

RELATED STORY | Documents show Camden PD leadership was concerned about officer’s force two years before alleged assault

RELATED STORY | KCSO documents show 2nd instance where Sheriff knew of deputy’s behavior before alleged assault

RELATED STORY | Allegations of excessive force brought against current, former Kershaw Co. deputies

RELATED STORY | SLED issues warrant for ex-Kershaw Co. deputy accused of assault and battery

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The SLED warrant began a series of legal issues for Boan, KCSO and Goldsmith, ultimately tallying up to three lawsuits. SLED also opened three investigations into Goldsmith.

The Prescott lawsuit states Boan hired Goldsmith to KCSO without requiring the de-escalation training Boan (during his time at Camden PD) and other leaders at Camden PD had scheduled for Goldsmith.

The training was in response to leadership concern over the quantity of force incidents Goldsmith was involved in.

The attorneys go on to allege Goldsmith was not trained on “the culture and ethos of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office, to include its policies and attitude as it relates to using force when dealing with the public. "

It alleges Boan had Goldsmith trained to be a use of force instructor for the department, “thereby placing Goldsmith in a position to encourage new and younger deputies to engage in the same sort of heavy handed, and torturous behavior that he had engaged in for years, all with Sheriff Boan’s explicit knowledge and consent.”

Additionally, the attorneys allege Boan kept a video of Goldsmith’s uses of force for entertainment.

Sheriff Lee Boan openly condoned and endorsed this behavior, as evidenced by a music video that he made and retaining on his personal iPad, known as “Goldsmith’s Greatest Hits”. This video is set to the song “Here Comes The BOOM!” by the rap artist Nelly, and begins with depictions of extremely violent football tackles and ends with video of Johnathan Goldsmith physically attacking a citizen, in an extremely violent and completely unnecessary manner, when he was working as a Camden City Police Officer.

The attorney for Sheriff Boan, Tommy Morgan Jr., sent WIS this statement in relation to a FOIA request for the video in September 2021:

The video referred to in your request dated September 17, 2021, has been provided to attorney Brett Perry as part of ongoing litigation. The video, however, does not and has not resided or been retained on KCSO or KC computer systems. Rather, it was a video made on Sheriff Boan’s personal phone/iPad prior to his election as Sheriff of Kershaw County. As such, the video itself does not qualify as a “public record” of a “public body” per S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-20(c).

In relation to the Prescott lawsuit, Morgan sent WIS this statement:

The suit contains unsubstantiated allegations that are in direct conflict with the video evidence that Plaintiff’s Attorneys have had in their possession for several months. While I wish I could comment further, Sheriff Boan looks forward to his and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office having their day in court. We are confident that a jury will see through the Plaintiff’s allegations and return a verdict in our favor. I am also confident the jury will recognize the great work KCSO deputies do on behalf of the citizens of Kershaw County.

Perry said he was unavailable to comment.

Goldsmith’s attorney did not return a request for comment.

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