An attempted murder survivor is accusing the Antioch Police Department of showing her estranged husband special treatment because he is a former law enforcement officer. Her husband, John Goodner, is a retired Hercules police officer who medically retired in 2009.
In February, Goodner was convicted of attempted murder, assault with a firearm and stalking after he fired multiple rounds into his wife’s Antioch bedroom. She was asleep inside.
“I woke up to gunshots in my bedroom,” said Cindy, who did not want to release her last name. “I just knew I had to get myself to a safe location, so I crawled on my floor to the kitchen and called 911. I said my house had just been shot at and I had a pretty good idea who did it.”
Cindy told 2 Investigates she had reported Goodner’s bizarre behavior to the Antioch Police Department for at least a year before the January shooting. She said often times Goodner was heavily intoxicated.
“His truck is very distinctive, and I could hear it in front of my house. He would rev up his engine just to let me know he was there,” she said. “There are reports that [police] came across him several times and for the most part they would give him a ride home or call someone who would give him a ride home.”
Police call logs obtained by 2 Investigates support Cindy’s claim that in February 2014 she and a friend called Antioch police after seeing Goodner “in the backyard…then in the window.” The logs also show, the next month, Cindy reported to police that Goodner “put a tracking device on her vehicle.”
“He had turn one of those old iPhones into a GPS tracker, and he had put it into a tackle box with a high powered magnet and put it under my car,” she said.
According to a restraining order request filed by Cindy, she wrote “There have been several incidents where Antioch PD has been called and Mr. Goodner always gets a ride home or to the hospital because he’s too drunk.”
“I don’t know who they were trying to protect to be honest with you, but it definitely was not me,” she told 2 Investigates.
2 Investigates spent weeks trying to get a response from the Antioch Police Department regarding Cindy’s claims, as well as information about how officers responded to her specific calls.
Antioch police officials declined to comment.
For perspective from an expert not involved in the case, 2 Investigates interviewed Susun Kim, the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Family Justice Center. The facility is a one-stop center for families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and human trafficking.
“Generally domestic violence cases are difficult to respond to an complex," said Kim. “An officer responding to an incident doesn’t have much information on the history…. They would need some evidence of violence before an arrest can be made.”
Kim said domestic violence accusations involving a law enforcement officer as one of the parties are even more complex.
“Because law enforcement officers carry weapons and they are trained,” she said. “Also when there is a restraining order, whether civil or criminal, against an officer… we are talking about an officer’s livelihood and career. Usually there is very strong defense coming from law enforcement and it makes victims’ cases a lot more difficult. Because the stakes are so much higher.”
Still, Kim said, these are not reasons for victims to not report stalking, harassment or other kinds of abuse by a law enforcement significant other. She said it’s critical victims collect evidence to strengthen their cases.
“I think smart phones have improved the justice system’s response because a lot of victims have evidence on their phones,” Kim said. “What we found is a lot of abusers like to have power and control and they are not so good at impulse control. They tend to send messages via phone, text. Text is great evidence and proof of harassment or stalking.”
Goodner’s sentencing is scheduled for May 26. He faces the possibility of more than 30 years in prison.
For domestic violence victims, there are resources in the Bay Area:
Alameda County - http://www.acfjc.org/
Contra Costa County - http://www.cocofamilyjustice.org/
Santa Clara County - http://www.henselphelps.com/projects/santa-clara-family-justice-center1
Written by Investigative Reporter Candice Nguyen