Kershaw County Sheriff settles use of force lawsuit

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Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 8:41 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 9:55 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A lawsuit against Kershaw County’s Sheriff and a deputy involving an alleged assault has been settled for $1.5 million.

Sheriff Lee Boan and former Deputy Johnathan Goldsmith were sued over an October 2020 incident where Goldsmith allegedly assaulted Tony Sims following a suspicious vehicle call.

Footage from the arrest showed Goldsmith used a taser, pepper spray, repeatedly hit Goldsmith, and closed a patrol car door on his leg.

Goldsmith was fired in November and SLED agents arrested him on charges of misconduct and second-degree assault. Sims launched a civil lawsuit against Boan and Goldsmith, saying his civil rights had been violated.

Sims’ attorney Brett Perry and S.C. Association of Counties Executive Director Tim Winslow confirmed the $1.5 million figure. Neither Boan nor county attorney Tommy Morgan returned a request for confirmation.

The association administers a trust which operates at Kershaw County’s insurance. Winslow said it’s unclear (and potentially unlikely) the incident will impact the county’s premiums (impacting taxpayer funds).

Winslow said premiums are based off periods of time, and single incidents by themselves would not cause significant changes.

Boan said in a statement,

“I am pleased that the lawsuit filed by Mr. Tony Sims has been settled and is in the process of being finalized in the courts. It was the right thing to do. I hope he has closure and can move on with his life. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Sims and the citizens of Kershaw County for the actions of my former deputy. He was hired by me. Like all deputies, he was my responsibility.

I was the first person to publicly admit my former deputy’s actions with Mr. Sims were unacceptable. He was terminated three months before SLED’s investigation was completed. I do not condone his actions. Unfortunately, I cannot go back in time and change what happened. We can only make every effort to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring in the future.

This one incident does NOT reflect the culture of your KCSO. We have responded to over 100,000 calls since I took office. The action of one former deputy during one incident does NOT define your KCSO. It is unfortunate in today’s society that a single bad incident gets more attention than thousands of good encounters law enforcement officers to have with citizens every day. I am in no way trying to overlook or downplay this bad incident. However, I ask that you do not let all the good encounters your KCSO deputies do daily get overlooked or downplayed either.”


Perry told WIS, Sims is pleased with the agreement which will help finance his recovery.

“He recently had a surgery that was associated with the injuries that he suffered on this night. He continues to recover, unfortunately he’ll probably never be the same after this but he is doing better and again he’s very pleased with the results,” he said.

Goldsmith and Boan have subsequently been sued in several lawsuits for Goldsmith’s alleged behavior (all filed by Perry). Goldsmith has also been the subject of additional SLED investigations.

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