Probe clears Bucksport police of allegations

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff
Posted June 17, 2010, at 11:57 a.m.

BUCKSPORT, Maine — An independent investigation into complaints against local police has cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

Though an internal probe turned up no evidence to support the complaints, the town council approved the outside investigation after the complainants, Joshua Amenkowicz and his mother, Sherry Hart, renewed their accusations against the department, according to Bucksport Town Manager Roger Raymond.

Raymond said Monday that confidentiality laws prohibited him from discussing the contents of the full report or the initial complaints against the two Bucksport officers accused of wrongdoing.

The complaints apparently stem from a 2008 incident in which police arrested Amenkowicz after a four-hour, armed standoff at his Central Street home. Amenkowicz was indicted and served time in jail on charges related to that incident.

Amenkowicz has since publicly claimed that officers have targeted him and his home and that they have committed numerous crimes ranging from theft to attempted murder.

But in a cover letter that accompanied the report, investigator Jonathan M. Goodman, a former investigator with the Portland Police Department and now an attorney with the law firm of Drummond Woodsum in Portland, indicated that the complaints were without merit.

Goodman wrote that his “fairly extensive” investigation included interviews with the complainants and witnesses and with Officer Matthew Cyr and Police Chief Sean Geagan, along with a review of documents, photographs and audio and video recordings.

“[M]y investigation leads me to conclude that there is no basis to support the complaints made by Mr. Amenkowicz or Ms. Hart,” he wrote. “In fact, I discovered a significant amount of evidence which actually refuted a number of the allegations, particularly those of a more serious nature.”

Raymond said he was not surprised by Goodman’s findings.

“I didn’t expect he would find any grounds for the complaints,” the town manager said. “I had already investigated this, the Attorney General’s Office had reviewed it and determined that there was no reason to pursue it further and had informed the complainants that was the case.”

Contacted by phone Wednesday, Amenkowicz rejected the results of the investigation.

“It was a farce,” he said. “He did not investigate the witnesses. He did not do an investigation.”

“It was a total fraud,” he said.

Hart also said she was disappointed with the results. She said the only questions Goodman had asked her and the witnesses they had provided had to do with Amenkowicz’s mental health history.

“We’re going to try to appeal,” she said. “There was no investigation. This wasn’t a real investigation.”

Hart said she and her son would seek a closed session with the Town Council in an effort to present information related to their complaints.

Raymond, meanwhile, said he did not have a final tally on how much the investigation has cost the municipality, but indicated that the town may seek reimbursement from Amenkowicz and Hart. The town manager also said there is a provision in state law that prohibits filing false claims. He said the town has not yet decided whether to refer this case to the District Attorney’s Office.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/06/17/news/probe-clears-bucksport-police-of-allegations/ printed on September 24, 2014