Civil Suit Will Proceed Against Augusta Police Officer Over Shooting
A civil suit questioning whether an Augusta Police Officer had reason to shoot a patient at a psychiatric facility will go forward, a judge ruled this week.
Centralmaine.com says the case involves an incident between Officer Laura Drouin and Jason Begin, who was an outpatient of the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, in January of 2015. Officer Drouin was answering a call that Begin had become agitated when told he would be returning to the hospital to stay, rather than returned to his group home. Court documents say he stood up, pulled out a large knife, and began slicing his own arms, stating it's something he should have done long ago.
But this is where the story gets fuzzy. A report by the Attorney General's office says Drouin drew her weapon and told Begin to stop before she fired her weapon. It also says he had pointed the knife toward staff members. But his attorneys say that the Officer yelled 'hey' three times before shooting, and never told him to drop the knife or that she was going to shoot him. The defense also alleges that he never threatened anyone but himself.
Begin was shot three times, with one shot puncturing his lung, another hitting his left shoulder, and a third shattering his ribs. He survived his injuries but was left with some partial paralysis, according to his lawyers. He has a history of mental illness, including suicide attempts, accusations of sexual assault against family members, and aggression toward the staff at Riverview. Psychiatric Center. Begin currently lives in a group home in Windsor and receives outpatient services from Riverview. Drouin was placed on leave until the Attorney General's investigation is complete and is now back on the job.
A judge in Bangor this week determined that there are enough questions left unanswered about what really happened to warrant a civil trial. It will now be up to a jury to decide whether it was a justified use of force or an unjustified shooting.