MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing whether criminal charges are warranted in an incident allegedly involving a town police officer’s “Tasering” of another officer, possibly last spring, officials said Wednesday.
Police Chief Donald Bolduc contacted the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the DA’s office as precautionary measures after receiving a copy Tuesday of an unsigned letter complaining about the alleged incident, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.
“Apparently, the chief has already taken disciplinary action in connection with the incident,” Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Tuesday, “and with an abundance of caution he said he wanted us to review it.”
Almy said he was awaiting investigative reports from Bolduc. He declined to comment further. Bolduc was off Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Conlogue declined to comment on the allegations in the letter except to say that they were part of a personnel matter and an ongoing investigation.
The letter refers to a new town police officer getting stunned with a Taser gun by a veteran as part of a hazing incident while a sergeant watched but took no action. The letter says that the incident occurred last spring, 10 months ago.
It says that a fourth officer, also a sergeant, later heard of the incident and alerted Bolduc, which resulted in the Taser-firing veteran officer getting suspended for a day. The letter calls the punishment “unacceptable” and implies that more severe discipline was warranted.
The letter names the officers allegedly involved in the incident, but Almy and Conlogue would not confirm their identities because of the investigation.
Postmarked Feb. 13, the letter was addressed to “Attorney General MacMaster,” a possible reference to Brian MacMaster, head of investigations for the Maine Attorney General’s Office. It has carbon-copy listings for John Rogers, director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, and three newspaper reporters.
A Taser, or stun gun, is intended to be a defensive weapon police use to protect themselves or restrain others. It employs electrical current to produce neuromuscular incapacitation or powerful muscle contractions to subdue suspects.
According to an Amnesty International report issued in December, 334 people shocked with Tasers by law enforcement died in the United States between June 2001 and August 2008.
The officer who allegedly was Tasered apparently did not suffer severe injury.