DeLAND, Fla. - A former DeLand Police officer has been charged with domestic violence battery, after investigators learned he lied about a fight with his fiancé in the early morning hours of January 1, 2019.
An internal affairs investigation found former officer William Godwin’s answers to Volusia County Deputies during their investigation led them to arrest his fiancé, landing her in jail for domestic violence battery, even though investigators say she was the real victim.
Godwin resigned last month during an internal investigation at the DeLand Police Department. There was a separate investigation, by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, all stemming from an incident that happened on New Year’s Day.
Documents show deputies were called to a ‘disturbance involving a police officer from an unidentified agency’ and a woman in the first few hours of 2019. Within seconds of arriving on scene, Godwin identified himself as a law enforcement officer.
“I’m DeLand PD, by the way,” Godwin said to one of the deputies on scene.
Godwin was outside a home in unincorporated DeLand with a woman described as his fiancé, who was holding Godwin’s personal handgun.
Investigators determined the woman took the gun from Godwin after he showed up uninvited to the home and got into an argument with a man who was inside. When asked if things turned physical between she and Godwin, the woman said no.
Deputies noticed the woman’s necklace was broken, leading them to question both her and Godwin about whether either of them committed a crime of domestic violence.
“Obviously, I don’t want to (expletive) get in any trouble. Clearly. But I don’t want to (expletive) tell you a lie,” Godwin said to deputies. “I’ve been a cop for (expletive) 11 years.”
It was only later that deputies and DeLand internal affairs investigators determined Godwin reacted to the woman trying to separate him from the other man ‘by grabbing her by the neck and arm and pushing her against a cement wall.’
That information was never mentioned to Volusia County deputies, even as the woman was placed in handcuffs. She was arrested and taken to jail for domestic violence battery against Godwin.
The charges against her were dropped days later.
Internal affairs investigators also noted that Godwin admitted to drinking and driving to the home, with his weapon.
"The fact that Officer Godwin was not forthcoming with information that would have changed the outcome of the investigation which led to the arrest of a person that was a victim of Domestic Violence and not the subject, shows poor judgment on his behalf," wrote internal affairs investigators in their report. Despite that, Godwin was allowed to resign before he could be fired.
An assistant state attorney for the 7th Circuit told 9 Investigates the office plans to make a filing decision on domestic violence charges against Godwin within the next few weeks.
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