After denying the existence of discipline records, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office finally handed over the records of officer misconduct.
Bangor Daily News
The Bangor Daily News asserts that redactions in the records defy Maine’s public disclosure law.
The Bangor Daily News investigated misconduct and discipline at sheriff’s offices across the state. Read key takeaways from each of the investigation’s seven stories.
After former Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant's downfall, the Bangor Daily News looked beyond western Maine to investigate whether the state has effective oversight of county law enforcement.
A corrections officer was written up, suspended and demoted. Instead of firing him, the county agreed that if he resigned, it would give a “neutral” reference to any prospective employers.
Whether Scott Francis engaged in conduct unbecoming of a police officer wasn’t a basis for punishment by the academy because Maine law doesn’t allow it to decertify officers for cruelty or depravity.
Dana Kitchin died in a Kennebec County jail observation cell on December 12, 2014, from a ruptured spleen. Before he died, other incarcerated individuals heard him screaming for medical attention for hours.
One corrections officer put a prisoner wearing handcuffs in a prohibited chokehold, and was later “unable to recall” that another corrections officer had to separate him from the inmate. He was fired.
Many Maine counties purge their law enforcement discipline records after periods of time negotiated with unions, complicating efforts to track misbehavior.
Holes in the system of oversight for Maine sheriffs allow them to escape accountability in ways few others in positions of power can.