AG: Police shooting justified

Posted Dec. 17, 2008, at 9:17 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s attorney general ruled Wednesday that an Auburn police officer was legally justified when he shot a 47-year-old man who had twice rammed his police cruiser with a dump truck during a high-speed chase.

Attorney General Steven Rowe said Officer Kristopher Bouchard acted within the law when he fired four shots at Bartolo Ford of Lisbon on the night of Sept. 15.

According to Rowe’s investigation, police gave chase to Ford because his truck was carrying stolen manufactured concrete products.

At one point, Ford stopped his truck, put it in reverse and drove backward at a high speed into Bouchard’s cruiser. After Ford rammed the cruiser a second time, Bouchard got out and fired his .45-caliber pistol before Ford sped away, according to Rowe’s findings.

“Unknown to anyone other than Mr. Ford at the time, one of the rounds fired by Officer Bouchard penetrated the driver’s door and struck Mr. Ford in the upper left leg,” Rowe’s report said.

Bouchard was unable to continue the chase because of the damage to his car, but Auburn Officer Matthew Johnson gave pursuit. On Route 122 in Poland, Ford again stopped the dump truck, put it in reverse and tried to ram Johnson’s cruiser.

After missing in reverse, Ford is accused of driving head-on into Johnson’ cruiser moments after Johnson abandoned the car. Ford again sped away, and his disabled truck later was found in Poland.

At midnight, some 2½ hours after the chase began, state police found Ford walking on Route 26 in Poland, his leg bleeding heavily from the gunshot wound. He was taken by ambulance to a Lewiston hospital, where he was treated.

Ford faces multiple charges, including aggravated attempted murder of Johnson, aggravated criminal mischief, reckless conduct with a motor vehicle, eluding an officer, theft and traffic offenses.

After an investigation by Auburn police, multiple theft charges later were filed against Ford related to theft of construction materials in Auburn and Topsham.

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