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Kershaw Co. Sheriff created “greatest hits” video of officer who would go on to be charged for assault

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Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - WIS has obtained court documents and video showing how then-Camden Police Department Captain Lee Boan created a “greatest hits” video of a then-Camden Police Officer tackling a suspect, complete with music and football highlights.

Boan would go on to be elected Kershaw County Sheriff and hire the officer, Johnathan Goldsmith, as a deputy.

Goldsmith is now facing an assault charge and a misconduct in office charge over an October 2020 incident while he served at KCSO.

He is the subject of three ongoing SLED investigations and was sued (along with Boan) over the October 2020 incident which resulted in a $1.5 million lawsuit civil settlement.

The October 2020 incident involved Goldsmith allegedly assaulting a suspect by knocking him out, tasing him, closing a car door on the man’s leg and failing to render aid immediately.

Boan and Goldsmith face two additional civil lawsuits over Goldsmith’s alleged use of force on the job for separate incidents.

Court documents refer to the video Boan created as “Goldsmith’s greatest hits.”

The video contains a series of violent football tackles and ends with then-Camden Police Officer Johnathan Goldsmith tackling a suspect on June 18, 2018, set to the song “Here comes the boom” by rapper Nelly.

Court documents show he downloaded the video of Goldsmith’s tackle on July 16, 2018. According to court records, Boan admitted to the best of his recollection he made the video that month and kept it on his personal iPad.

Camden Police Department records show on June 26, 2018 the tackle incident was reviewed for other tactics that could have been used.

Camden Police department records show on July 31, 2018 then-Camden Police Department Capt. Boan submitted a document to Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd recommending Goldsmith receive de-escalation training.

An October 1, 2018 review was also scheduled.

But Goldsmith left the Camden Police Department for the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office before the October review was completed.

Boan then hired him to KCSO in January 2019.

A WIS investigation in November 2021 found Boan was alerted at least twice to concerns about Goldsmith’s use of force before the incident which led to criminal charges.

The new court records show at least six documented instances of concerns being raised about Goldsmith’s conduct, with at least four where Boan or his Chief Deputy Tyrrell “Rock” Coleman were notified before Goldsmith was fired.

WIS is running two follow-up investigations into Boan and his knowledge/views of Goldsmith on Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26.

THE JOHNATHAN GOLDSMITH TIMELINE

Neither Boan nor Goldsmith’s attorney responded to requests for comments on this story.

Boan did post this on Facebook in relation to the October 2020 incident:

LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT WITH MR TONY SIMS I am pleased that the lawsuit filed by Mr. Tony Sims has been settled and is in...

Posted by Sheriff Lee Boan on Tuesday, April 12, 2022

He wrote:

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 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.

The video and the surrounding context

The video is 19 seconds long, featuring football tackles from various football games. It ends with a two second clip of Goldsmith’s body camera footage from June 18, 2018.

The video is 19 seconds long, featuring football tackles from various football games. It ends with a two second clip of Goldsmith’s body camera footage from June 18, 2018.

Goldsmith rushes up to a suspect being held by another officer, appearing to tackle him.

The suspect in the video is then 50-year-old Camden resident Roosevelt Lee.

Goldsmith filed an incident report citing Lee for possession of crack cocaine and resisting arrest on West Dekalb Street.

The report states units were dispatched to the area in front of the Wendy’s for three people who were unlawfully in the roadway.

Additionally, the report says a caller stated one suspect was on a bike and acting aggressively.

Goldsmith wrote that he approached three suspects, who left in different directions.

Goldsmith wrote Lee began to ride away and Goldsmith wrote he told Lee to come back. He continued by stating he asked Lee to get off the bike as he tried to ride away.

Goldsmith wrote:

I grabbed the seat on the bike so he would not flee. Lee then jumped off the bike pushed it to the ground in front of me to impede any pursuit and fled on foot West bound towards Cheap Way. Cpl Olson arrived on scene in an unmarked patrol vehicle in the west bound lane of Dekalb St and while almost at a complete stop, Lee ran in to the driver’s side front quarter panel which stopped Lee’s flight and allowed me to catch up to him.

I escorted Lee to the ground to prevent him from being able to flee once again.

Goldsmith described Lee as resisting, non-compliant and aggressive. He wrote Lee resisted attempts to be searched, so Goldsmith delivered four knee strikes to “major muscles.”

Goldsmith wrote he applied “mandibular angle pressure” to get him to calm down and comply.

Goldsmith wrote he removed a baggy which appeared to contain crack cocaine. Goldsmith wrote he escorted Lee to the police car and later administered a test to confirm the substance was crack cocaine.

An incident report supplemental written by Officer Carl Olson supported Goldsmith’s narrative. He wrote the drivers’ side mirror of his patrol vehicle had been damaged when Goldsmith took Lee to the ground.

WIS obtained Goldsmith’s four-and-a-half-minute body camera video of the incident.

The body camera footage

The interaction begins with Goldsmith asking Lee’s name (which Lee did not provide) and informing Lee that he had been told someone had almost hit him, which Lee denied.

The video shows Lee attempting to leave and Goldsmith telling him he needs to talk to him.

Goldsmith asks Lee to get off the bike. After stating he did anything wrong, and Lee asked “for what?” Lee pushes down the bike and begins to run.

The video shows Olson grabbed Lee and Goldsmith proceeded to take him to the ground.

The body camera is on the ground with nothing visible for roughly 20 seconds.

It then shows Lee being arrested while asking why Goldsmith had used force and denying he had done anything wrong.

The officers asked why Lee ran, and he said he was afraid of them.

Lee continues to verbally protest and states he had been hit in his groin.

Kershaw County court records show Lee has criminal history dating back more than two decades.

Lee is facing three pending drug-related charges from 2018 and 2019.

Kershaw County court records show Lee was not prosecuted for the crack cocaine charge, and there are no records for resisting arrest for the incident reflected in Goldsmith’s body camera footage.

WIS met with Lee on May 4. He said he had not seen Goldsmith’s body camera footage from the incident nor the “greatest hits” video.

WIS showed him the body camera footage and the “greatest hits” video.

“I think it’s disrespectful. I get beat for nothing then you sit around make videos of it. Doing things to me like that, I don’t think that’s correct and I think something needs to be done about it,” he said.

He said he did interpret the video as a joke.

“I feel bad as hell right now. Right now, I want to go down to the police station and cuss all them out. That’s how angry I am bruh. You making videos? You’re supposed to be our sheriff? Lee Boan? Come on man. How do you think I feel man?”

He said the incident resulted in a shoulder injury.

The creation of the video and what KCSO knew

WIS obtained the videos and corresponding documents as part of a civil lawsuit filed by Tony Sims against Boan and Goldsmith stemming from the same alleged assault which led to the criminal charges.

Camden Police Department documents show Boan downloaded the video at 11:24 a.m. on July 16, 2018.

Court documents contain a Sept. 13, 2021 letter from county attorney Alyssa Iglesias.

It states the video was located on Boan’s personal iPad and he made the video on an old iPhone which he no longer has possession of.

Boan’s attorneys filed responses to questions by Sims’ attorneys on Feb. 8, 2022 stating to the best of Boan’s recollection, he created the video in July 2018 and made no other similar videos.

In a Feb. 3, 2022 deposition of KCSO Capt. Chris Boykin, an attorney for Sims asked him about the “Greatest hits” video.

Boykin said he’d “heard there was one” from Tyrrell Coleman, KCSO Chief Deputy.

Coleman has not responded to a request for comment on this investigation.

Boykin said Coleman never played it for him.

He said:

We were in the office talking about something and he -- he said, yeah, the sheriff had a video of that on his computer.

A separate deposition on Feb. 3, 2022 with KCSO Lt. William West also involved questions about the video.

He said he had never seen it but had heard about it “in the office.”

West stated:

Somebody said that, “Have y’all seen the greatest hits?” I have no idea, ma’am. It’s like locker room talk; you walk in and you hear and you -- I didn’t even know what it was. I still has yet to seen it.

He proceeded to be asked a series of questions about the circumstances he heard about the video he said he did not know answers for.

He said:

It was just a greatest hits video. They were asking has anyone seen it. And I don’t believe anyone in that office had seen it.

West said “or that’s the way I took them talking.”

A Feb. 3, 2022 deposition of KCSO Lt. Jarrett Greenway laid out how Greenway said the video was “common knowledge.”

He said he’d heard about the video, but never seen it.

Included in the court filings was the Camden Police Department Policy and Procedure Manual.

General Order 2.13 is the following:

2.13 USE OF DEPARTMENT REPORTS, RECORDS, AND COMMUNICATIONS

No written communication with reference to police business shall be made by a police officer or civilian employee except upon the authority of a properly designated superior officer. Copies of such dispatch shall be filed within the department.

A. No department record shall be removed from any building or office without the written permission of the Chief of Police, nor shall any department report be copied for any purpose without the Permission of the Chief of Police.

B. All requests for copies of incident reports, accident reports, and dissemination of reports and records will be made to the Records Office Administrator.

WIS contacted Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd for comment on this story.

Floyd only stated the first he’d heard of the video was WIS’ reporting on it in March and did not comment further.

The court documents also included Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office General Orders.

Chapter 1 reads in part:

4. Personal Devices: No personal devices shall be synced with or connected to any computer, terminal system or wifi network at any time for the purposes of charging, viewing images or content, or transferring any type of data.

Section 300.18 under Chapter 1 reads in part:

V. AXON MEDIA STORAGE

A. The Axon will be placed in the Evidence Transfer Machine (ETM) at the end of their work rotation for

charging and uploading unless otherwise approved by their supervisor.

B. The media captured via the AXON will only be uploaded to EVIDENCE.COM.

C. Each event must be categorized according to event type so that proper retention periods will be applied.

D. Video and audio captured via the AXON will be used for official purposes only.

E. No footage captured by any on-officer recording device shall be used for purposes other than those within

the scope of legitimate law enforcement interests.

On June 26, 2018, Camden Police leadership reviewed the incident with Goldsmith, discussing different sections of video and explored other tactics which could have been used.

Email from Boan

Boan did not respond to multiple interview requests for this story.

A source with direct knowledge of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office operations and culture did forward WIS screenshots of what appears to be an email Boan sent to deputies.

The email is dated March 9, but the year is not present.

WIS has requested confirmation from Boan that he sent the emails.

A Screenshot of Sheriff Lee Boan's email.
A Screenshot of Sheriff Lee Boan's email.(Source with direct knowledge of KCSO)
A screenshot of Sheriff Boan's email message.
A screenshot of Sheriff Boan's email message.(Source with direct knowledge of KCSO)

It appears Boan writes in part:

Don’t do or say anything you don’t want WIS to run a story on. Believe it or not, WIS has a ‘Man Crush’ on me. They love running any trashy story they can on me. All of you are extensions of my arm. Don’t make me amputate you.

What the lawyers suing Boan say

Sims’ attorneys Brett Perry and Robert Butcher filed the lawsuit against Goldsmith and Boan over Goldsmith’s alleged behavior in the October 2020 incident.

They are also working together on a second lawsuit against Boan and Goldsmith involving a Feb. 2020 traffic stop for a different plaintiff.

Perry filed a third lawsuit over a Nov. 2019 traffic stop for a third plaintiff.

The court documents in WIS’ possession are from the first lawsuit (Oct. 2020) which led to the criminal charges and the $1.5 million settlement.

Perry said they were informed of the video by sources in the community.

“It was very much like a leprechaun or a unicorn. A lot of people had said that they had heard about it or had said that somebody else had told them that they had seen it, but we couldn’t find anybody who actually said ‘I saw the video, I’ve watched the video,” he said.

Perry said he was surprised the video was obtained, given his offices’ reliance on the sheriff’s office handing it over.

He credited former Chief Deputy Steve Knafelc for making it public.

“My understanding is that Steve’s integrity is the reason that we have that video,” Perry said.

Perry described Knafelc as a “fine law enforcement officer” and a “tremendous loss” to the sheriff’s office.

Knafelc served at the sheriff’s office for varying periods between Oct. 20, 1995 to Nov. 12, 2021. His Criminal Justice Academy records show he resigned to join the Department of Revenue.

Knafelc declined an interview request.

Butcher said he believes the video shows Boan displayed a “flippant attitude” towards police use of force.

“That severely undermines his policies and actually the law itself in legitimizing and glorifying use of force against the general public,” Butcher said.

Butcher pointed to the depositions of KCSO deputies, questioning the message the video sent to deputies.

In Perry’s view, Boan’s download of the body camera footage and subsequent creation of the video violated Camden Police Department policies.

“The only purpose that I can come up with for retaining, for first of all obtaining, and second of all retaining, a video such as the one that we’re discussing, would be if you either found it humorous and/or in some way condoned that behavior. No one keeps videos of things they abhor,” Perry said.

However, Butcher conceded they did not find any evidence specifically stating Boan viewed the video was a joke.

“No, but it’s an attitude. What he equated use of force with is Chris Berman on SportsCenter showing the Top 10 plays,” he said.

Perry also conceded Roosevelt Lee had a criminal record and was “no angel,” but said Lee’s actions that night did not merit Goldsmith’s treatment nor Boan’s video.

“How we treat those that we deem the least worthy, is sort of the measure of who we are as a society,” he said.

Boan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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