"It's our job to be aggressive and investigating and sometimes prosecuting public officials when they abuse the trust of the public," said William Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney.
The scandal in Clarksburg continues. If you've been watching 5 news at all, then you already know Clarksburg police Chief Marshall Goff resigned Monday along with one of his lieutenants. Tuesday, in the press conference everyone in Clarksburg wanted to be at, federal officials finally revealed why. Basically, Goff and Tim Smith stepped down to avoid federal charges.
In order to understand what's really happening here, you need to look back to last week when 5 News told you about the domestic abuse case involving city councilman Sam "Zeke" Lopez. Turns out, federal investigators claim Goff and Smith had a "inappropriate response" to that alleged crime, where Lopez was accused of beating his wife several times with a rolling pin.
An FBI Special Agent stated the investigation started only a week to two weeks after the incident in back in April. The charges they both were facing if they didn't resign were lying to federal agents and violation of civil rights. Since they resigned from their positions those charges are dropped on the federal level. But they are not allowed to seek any law enforcement jobs in the future. The U.S. Attorney who spoke Tuesday said their most important partner in this case was the public.
"Our efforts in routing out public corruption are working. We thank the public for letting us know about this incident. Public came to us and told us about this and then we began to investigate with the assistance of the FBI and the state police," said Ihlenfeld.
Ihlenfeld stressed that the Lopez case and this one are separate.
The next question is where does the police department go from here. There first step is to hire an interim, which they did Tuesday morning. Lt. Robert Hilliard is stepping into that position but only temporarily. The city manager said they're starting the process of looking for a new chief right away. After this scandal, Hilliard said they're next step is to just move forward.
"This police department is still going to continue to combat the efforts in the drug problem and nothing is going to change as far as that goes or any services that the police department provides to the citizens," said Hilliard.