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Court video shows former KCSO deputy appearing to secretly record sheriff talking Goldsmith, criticism and the constitution

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Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 7:50 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - WIS has obtained a video showing a former Kershaw County deputy recorded Sheriff Lee Boan as they discussed a criminally charged former deputy, public criticism and constitutional rights.

The video appears to have been recorded secretly by former KCSO Deputy Dexter Handy. WIS was unable to confirm if Boan knew he was being recorded.

The video was submitted as evidence in a civil lawsuit against Sheriff Lee Boan and former KCSO Deputy Johnathan Goldsmith. The lawsuit was settled in April for $1.5 million.

Attorneys for the plaintiff Tony Sims filed the suit over an October 2020 incident where Goldsmith allegedly assaulted Sims through multiple hits, knocking him out, tasing him, closing a door on the suspect’s leg and failed to render aid immediately.

RELATED COVERAGE

Goldsmith faces an assault charge and misconduct in office charge over the incident. He is the subject of three ongoing SLED investigations, one of which involves the October 2020 alleged assault.

Both he and Boan are facing two additional civil lawsuits over Goldsmith’s alleged behavior in two other incidents.

Part 2 of this WIS investigation found Boan was presented with concerns over Goldsmith’s behavior at least three time prior to the October 2020 incident.

Part 1 of this investigation found Boan created a “greatest hits” video of Goldsmith tackling a suspect while both Boan and Goldsmith served at the Camden Police Department.

Sims’ attorneys argued Boan found the video and the use of force funny.

Neither Boan nor Goldsmith’s attorney returned requests for comment.

Boan posted on Facebook the day after part 1 aired:

I DON’T WORK FOR ANY ATTORNEY OR NEWS REPORTER I don’t have to answer to any attorney or news reporter. I ONLY have to...

Posted by Sheriff Lee Boan on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

He wrote:

I DON’T WORK FOR ANY ATTORNEY OR NEWS REPORTER

I don’t have to answer to any attorney or news reporter. I ONLY have to answer to the good citizens of Kershaw County. I will do this on my page without their slant and lies getting mixed in.

Due to the current “real news” (Texas school shooting), I respectfully refuse to go back and forth with anyone’s twisted allegations from incidents that took place years ago.

Stand by… I will give my side of the story to the citizens of Kershaw County when the timing is appropriate.

#PrayForTexas

Boan also posted on Facebook in April about the settlement of the civil lawsuit:

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

Stating:

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 context of the video

Court records show former deputy Dexter Handy recorded Boan while they were talking in a car.

A court document submitted by Sims’ attorneys states the video was taken in Sept. 2021 while Handy and Boan were driving from Lugoff to Columbia.

It’s unclear if Boan was aware he was being recorded.

The video is almost 48 minutes long, covering the sheriff’s views of the October 2020 incident, constitutional rights, and criticism from the community.

A Facebook page for a potential Dexter Handy campaign for Boan’s seat appears to have been created in September 2021. The only post on the page is from October 2021 and explains how Handy is not running.

It’s with a heavy, heavy heart that I am making this post. Earlier this year I felt that there needed to be significant...

Posted by Handy For Sheriff on Thursday, October 14, 2021

He has not filed to run. South Carolina Election commission records show Boan is the only registered candidate.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy records show Handy served at the KCSO from Sept. 14, 2006 to Sept. 20, 2021.

The CJA separation paperwork for Handy leaving KCSO states:

Sheriff no longer desires services of employment. No misconduct or criminal activity

WIS contacted Handy for this story, who initially communicated interest in an interview. On April 27, he sent WIS a text reading:

I hate to bother you so late but I had a long talk with my Chief of police today. He said that he could not and would not stop me from having an interview with you but he strongly suggested that I don’t. With that being said he allowed me to come and work for him, knowing that I only have 11 months until retirement. I’m going to respectfully decline the interview.

Handy works at the Elgin Police Department. WIS spoke with Elgin Police Chief Alan Anders briefly on May 4.

WIS read Anders the text and he confirmed Handy’s narrative, expressed support for him and a desire to maintain good inter-agency relationships.

He declined to comment further.

What the video shows

WIS has uploaded the video in its entirety, unedited, for viewing here:

Multiple times throughout the video, Boan references the Goldsmith case. It’s the first time WIS has obtained video of Boan speaking on the case since Goldsmith was fired in November 2020.

Boan expressed frustration with Camden Attorney Brett Perry, who along with his partners filed the three lawsuits.

“Brett Perry’s pushed this lawsuit, he’s digging into anything and everything he can and going all into, he’s digging through my email account and cell phone accounts, just looking for any little thing to tie me to Goldsmith because I hired him and should have known better. So he’s going to pick out anything that anybody has ever said negative about Goldsmith his whole career.

And the fact that I hired [Goldsmith], knowing the number of use of forces he had at Camden, I hired him anyway at Kershaw. Should have known better. No, use of force and excessive force is two different things. I will never tell a deputy that I expect you to do whatever you can to make sure you don’t hurt this person resisting arrest. I’m not going to do that.

You do whatever you got to do to make sure you don’t get hurt and anybody from the public gets hurt and you’re able to detain and put this person in custody, that is what you need to do. Yes, minimum amounts that you need to do, but how do you question what is a minimum amount?”

Boan has vocalized criticism for attorneys in the past.

I NEED YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT #Boan2022

Posted by Sheriff Lee Boan on Friday, September 24, 2021

In the Handy video, Boan addressed the October 2020 incident.

“Goldsmith, knocking that guy out, knocking his teeth out. Oh, I could have defended that. You don’t know where a gun’s at, the guy’s up there breaking the law.”

Kershaw County court records show Sims faced three charges in relation to the October 2020 incident. All were dismissed.

The video gives some insight into Boan’s understanding of Goldsmith’s behavior. He said the force continuum ought to be used on a case-by-case basis.

“Goldsmith’s thing is going 0 to 100. There’s no graduations in there.”

Boan expressed frustration with the dismissal of Sims’ criminal charges while Goldsmith is being prosecuted.

“Hell no, hell no [the solicitor’s office] wasn’t right,”

Boan described the solicitor’s office as using Goldsmith’s legal troubles as an “excuse” to drop cases Goldsmith was involved in.

“It was just an excuse that they could do, he’s just not a credible witness now so we’re going to dismiss them. Because of one incident? One incident where he overreacted makes him uncredible for any other [inaudible]. That’s just an excuse to get rid of everything.”

Boan has expressed frustration with the court system in the past.

⚠️⚠️⚠️ WARNING ⚠️⚠️⚠️ ONLY WATCH THIS VIDEO IF YOU CARE ABOUT CRIME RATES IN KERSHAW COUNTY

Posted by Sheriff Lee Boan on Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office declined a request for comment on this story. The office, led by Solicitor Byron Gipson, oversees Richland and Kershaw Counties.

Boan said Goldsmith sent his body camera footage to the solicitor’s office “as part of his packet, he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.”

He said the office had watched the full video before he did.

He said he initially only watched the video to the point Sims was handcuffed. Here is the full bodycam footage:

“Man that’s justified there. Yeah it looks nasty, but look here the public wants us to video what we’re doing, the public’s got to understand that there’s things, there’s evil in this world that they don’t understand,”

Boan said he was contacted by SLED and he ultimately watched the full video after being alerted to concerns about it. He confirmed to Handy KCSO implemented its disciplinary review board after the Goldsmith incident.

Boan said the office “learned a lesson” to watch the entire video.

The sheriff said he viewed the October 2020 incident as two separate events, before and after Sims being handcuffed.

“The initial incident was one thing. I think we could have, I think we could have, we’d probably stand to pay out some money, but I think we could’ve defended that.”

Boan did express some sympathy for Goldsmith but said he was not using his training.

“Once the guy was handcuffed, man everything after that was just wild. How do you- you can’t justify that [inaudible]. That’s a [inaudible]. I don’t think Goldsmith meant anything evil out of it. He was just, I don’t, his mind was set he had to get that guy in that car.”

He later stated:

“Once [Sims’ attorneys] can take Goldsmith out, as acting outside of the realm of the department and what he was trained to do, once that is established, and it will be established, I hate it for Goldsmith.”

Boan also discussed his views of constitutional rights and criticism from the public.

The lawsuits against him and Goldsmith allege they violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs.

“In their opinion, you know the anti-police opinions, ‘well y’all signed up for it, nobody made y’all do that job.’ Okay look b****. If we’re not doing it, who will? Do you not think we need some type of law and order around here? Do y’all just want to let things go?

‘Well y’all violated his constitutional rights.’ I get so tired of this constitutional rights garbage. It’s, yes, Constitution is in place to protect people from government. Okay, nobody’s violating your rights. Nobody’s coming to your house, taking your little guns. Nobody’s, nobody’s forcing you to get a vaccination. Nobody, none of that, nobody’s violating your rights. What government entity is trying to violate your rights?”

He and Handy also discussed public perception of law enforcement and his posts on social media.

I think the vast majority of people love us. But, you know, you got some people that are kind of on that fence there and then they see stuff that’s just like and that’s all you’re going to see, is the bad stuff. The good stuff? And that’s why some people like well ‘man why do you always put stuff on Facebook?’ Because people need to know what we’re doing, they need to know it in a positive way.

They need our version of what we’re doing, the true version, because you’ve got to constantly remind people, what we’re doing in the hopes that you’re building that account up,”

What a source with direct knowledge of KCSO says

WIS spoke with a source who has direct knowledge of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office operations and culture.

The source claimed they had seen the Handy video because it had “circulated.”

The source agreed with Boan that the Goldsmith October 2020 incident could be broken down into two separate incidents (before and after the handcuffing). The source said Sims was fighting Goldsmith before the handcuffs were administered.

The source said the second event involved the tasering and other uses of force.

The source said they believe Boan means well, but doesn’t understand how his words are perceived.

The source questioned what Boan meant when he referenced “true version” of events, arguing “truth is truth.”

What Sims’ attorneys say

WIS spoke with Camden attorneys Brett Perry and Robert Butcher. They filed the October 2020 lawsuit on behalf of Sims.

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

Additionally, Perry filed a third lawsuit against Boan and Goldsmith over a Nov. 2019 traffic stop for a third plaintiff.

Butcher said Boan’s comments on the Constitution show Boan views it as a “technicality.”

“The Constitution is something that he’d like to take a short-cut around. He doesn’t respect it,” he said.

They disagreed with Boan’s assertion the October 2020 incident was two different events.

Butcher described it as “police misconduct.”

“It’s excessive force from the get-go. You got to remember he was just being detained. That does not give the police the right to deliver five punches, including a knock-out blow and to punch someone when they’re down on the ground,” he said.

Butcher also described Boan’s use of Facebook for public messaging as “sad.”

“There are folks who are, who believe in spin, and believe in just avoiding the truth and if they’re loud enough, if they have a large enough audience, they can say whatever they want and other people are going to pass it on as the truth,” he said.

Perry said Boan is, “surrounded in this echo chamber of his sycophants.”

“No matter what he says, no matter what he does, all he gets from them is ‘atta boys. You know, doing a great job Sheriff. No matter what he says, no matter what he does, he’s got a group of people that are constantly going to reenforce him. That are going to basically stroke his ego if you will,” he said.

Perry said Boan’s frustration with him is, “a badge of honor.”

“For Sheriff Lee Boan to see me as some sort of nemesis, to see me as the problem. Then I wear that like a badge of honor. That means I’m doing my job, I’m holding his agency accountable for the things that they are doing and the things that they are not doing that they should be,” he said.

WIS asked Butcher and Perry if they’re concerned their scrutiny of Boan and KCSO undermines the mission of the deputies in the field.

Butcher responded:

“I think most of the good deputies, they want justice and they want to make sure that we have good police. Okay? This is not an us versus them. This is not the law enforcement versus the public and unfortunately Lee Boan has created it that way,” he said.

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