Alabama Sheriff decries ‘fake news’ as police clear themselves of wrongdoing in death of Andrew Schwam

Related Story: Reckless Alabama cop identified in the death of electrical lineman, White father of four, Andrew Schwam

UPDATE 8/1/23: Thanks to a leak from a confidential source, the Justice Report has obtained both videos, which captured the tragic death of electrical lineman, Andrew Schwam on March 18th. The videos, which have been brutally suppressed from being made public by the Blount County Sheriff’s Department for months, clearly show Deputy Charles Moody (badge #126) going well over the 15mph speed limit imposed in the residential area where the incident took place.

The videos in their entirety have been compiled together and can be viewed below. The Justice Report would like to remind its viewers of the sensitive nature of the content, and viewer discretion is advised.

The video seemingly disproves the Sheriff’s Department’s claim that Officer Moody was traveling “well below 15mph.” According to Schwam’s partner, Matt Vogelaar, a speed zone of 15mph is considered so slow that, if obeyed, there would be no need for signs or warnings to inform drivers of ongoing work in the area, per Department of Transportation guidelines.

The Justice Report will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Hayden, Alabama – A law enforcement officer involved in the tragic death of electrical lineman, Andrew Schwam, has been cleared of all wrongdoing by a grand jury earlier this month. The development comes as a relief to controversial Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon, who now faces a growing storm of public backlash for his systemic mishandling of the events.

According to a report from 1819 News, a grand jury declined to indict Blount County Sheriff’s Deputy, Charles Moody, of Hayden, for his alleged role in the death of Andrew Schwam. The decision was made after the jury was presented with evidence from an Alabama law enforcement agency and testimony from three witnesses, including Sheriff Moon, on Friday the 14th.

Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon (Left), Deputy Charles Moody (Center), and Andrew Schwam (Right). Photos: Facebook.

Schwam, an electrical lineman who died after Moody allegedly sped over a downed telecommunications line back in March, was reportedly flung 37 feet in the air before landing on his head and crushing his skull, according to a sole eyewitness. While officials have claimed that Moody was going “well below” the speed limit of 15mph that day, the extensive injuries sustained and the length Schwam was tossed have cast doubts onto the official police narrative.

Making matters worse, details surrounding the incident have been few and far between. Sheriff Moon only exacerbated concerns from the public by falsely labeling online critique, and even the Justice Report’s own independent findings, as “slanderous lies” and “fake news.”

“The Traffic-Homicide Investigation was presented and this body made the determination that no living being committed any criminal offense that caused the death of Andrew Schwam,” read a statement from the grand jury.

Sheriff Moon testified that at the time of Schawm’s death on March 18th, he was out of state, attending a National Sheriff’s Institute Leadership conference in Washington, DC. In his absence, the responsibility of handling the Schwam case instead fell on Blount County Chief Deputy, Brian Whitt. Whitt, however, appears to have delayed an investigation, believing Schawm’s injuries at first were less than life-threatening and non-criminal.

Schwam & Son at UAB Hospital. Photo: Porsche Schwam.

When Whitt finally realized Schwam had died on the 18th, he notified the ALEA and requested a homicide investigation nine days later on March 27th. Four days after that, on March 31st, the ALEA arrived to inspect the vehicle driven by Moody, leaving a gap of 13 full days between death and initial inspection, according to the ALEA crash report. During this time, Schwam’s certificate of death was withheld, preventing family burial services from taking place.

“I was thankful that no charges would be brought on my deputy because he didn’t do anything wrong,” claimed Moon in an interview. “He took a lot of backlash, especially when his name came out there.”

Since the incident began, Sheriff Moon has furiously held water for Deputy Moody, concealing his identity from the public and promising that the existence of a video of the incident would totally exonerate him. Despite being a key piece of evidence, the mysterious video has never been released. Now that the investigation is over, Moon claims that this video will remain buried at the “request of Schwam’s family.”

But for some, the timeline of events and curious claims emerging from the Sheriff’s department doesn’t add up. Schwam’s wife, Porsche, has remained one of Moon’s loudest critics and says she wasn’t even notified of the grand jury decision to drop the criminal case until the following day. What’s worse is that she says Moon outright lied in his interview with 1819 News and that neither he nor the district attorney has spoken a word to her since her husband’s death four months ago.

Porsche Schwam comment to Blount County Sheriffs Department (Left), Porsche and Andrew Schwam (right) Photos: Facebook.

“Mark claims that the family asked him not to release the video(s)…who asked him?? Because I sure didn’t. Mark has NEVER spoken a word to me, verbally or written since my husband died,” said Porsche Schwam in an emotional Facebook post made to the Blount County Sheriff’s Department page. “My lawyers can’t even get access to the video(s) for some reason…yet Mark’s sister Lisa Armstrong has already publically stated that ‘several people’ have video(s) of my husband’s death.”

To this day, the Blount County Sheriff’s Department has yet to issue a formal apology to the Schwam family for the incident or directly name the officer involved. It wasn’t until the Justice Report conducted an independent investigation that residents learned more about the tragedy, despite Moon’s apparent coverup.

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Using information from official ALEA documents obtained by public records request, the Justice Report was able to positively identify the culprit as Officer Charles Franklin Allen Moody, badge #126. After Moody’s involvement became public knowledge, Moon hurriedly took to social media, using the Blount County Sheriff’s official Facebook page to denounce and falsely label the Justice Report’s fact-finding mission as “slanderous lies.” Despite evidence proving the contrary, Moon even implied the Justice Report was peddling “fake news” in an interview with 1819, a conservative news outlet that had published sympathetic news articles for Moon in the past.

“The fake news article jumped on him (Moody) and spread his name everywhere, and he had to turn off his Facebook for a while because people were saying just hateful, God-awful things,” said Moon in the interview, appearing to care more for Moody’s reputation than Schwam’s death. “He’s one of my best…He’s really good at his job. He still tends to deal with some issues but is very professional, and we are thankful to have him. It’s extremely unfair how he was portrayed.”

A TikTok made by Schwam’s sister, Savannah, where she demanded justice for her late brother. Video: TikTok @savstonebrook.

Moon’s continued public relations gaffes, combined with the outrage expressed by Porsche, have only fanned the flames of criticism online. Shockingly, the grand jury’s decision appears to have only energized prideful Sheriff, a man who, from the beginning, has done little to stifle public outrage. Instead, Moon has only doubled down, attempting to recenter victimhood onto the department and even himself.

“People even messaged the sheriff’s office Facebook page wanting to know when we were going to charge the ‘murdering deputy for killing the lineman in Hayden,” said Moon in the interview. “I mean, that deputy didn’t deserve the treatment that he got from the public and from social media.”

In a now-deleted personal Facebook post, Moon once commented that angry constituents who were trying to hold him accountable were “brave” for saying things “behind their keyboards” that “might have gotten them into a tight spot if they said them to someone’s face.”

A now-deleted Facebook post made by Mark Moon on his personal account (left) and official photo (right.)

After Moon shared the 1819 News article on Facebook, Blount County residents exploded, with many taking to the social media platform to air their grievances. Calling the entire incident a “cover-up” and accusing Moon and his department of being “incompetent cops,” some users quickly highlighted the Sheriff’s “unprofessional” and “childish” behavior on display over the course of four strenuous months.

“Mark claims that the family asked him not to release the video(s)…who asked him?? Because I sure didn’t. Mark has NEVER spoken a word to me, verbally or written since my husband died.”

Porsche Schwam, Facebook

“We all witnessed your absolute unprofessional, childish behavior on social media as soon as SS (Savannah Schwam) tiktok was shared,” said one Blount County resident on Facebook. “This “win” for you doesn’t take away the fact that Andrew Schwam’s death occurred due to the actions of the deputy.”

“I still cant get over an investigation about a man’s death had more (to do) about your social media not being nice to you,” commented another user. “A real person died and you swept it under the rug for months. Sad and shameful.”

While a “reckless” cop and his bumbling boss may have skirted accountability for the death of a beloved family man, the Sheriff’s department was forced by the grand jury to adjust its procedures to enhance communications going forward. Moon said his office is “revising its policy” to make sure incidents like this don’t happen again, but for some, the damage is already done.

Blount County Alabama Sheriff’s Office. Photo: Erica Thomas,1819 News.

“To know “several people” have watched my husband’s death in 4k while I sit at home with our children wondering, picturing every time I close my eyes, ‘How did he land? Did he feel it? Did he know he was dying?,” said Porsche Schwam on Facebook. “This entire article is nothing short of a clear indication that this department & county is omnipotent in terms of accountability or liability. At least MY county has morals.”

Andrew Schwam was a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend to many in the community. He was a hard worker who now leaves behind four children. Additionally, Schwam was an organ donor, whose liver was successfully given to a family friend in need. The Justice Report’s investigation into the death of Andrew Schwam is ongoing, and this article will be updated as new details emerge. We urge all who can help financially support the Schwam family in their time of need to consider doing so.

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