MILLINOCKET, Maine — A local man claims that several town police officers violated his civil rights, were negligent, used excessive force and inflicted physical and psychological harm on him when he was Tasered during an arrest on Oct. 31, 2008.
Wayne Cote, 37, claims unspecified punitive and compensatory damages in the civil lawsuit he filed against Police Chief Donald Bolduc and police Officers Kevin Ingersoll, Janet Theriault and Jerry Cox in Penobscot County Superior Court on Tuesday, documents show.
In their response, filed the same day in U.S. District Court in Portland, where the case has been transferred, the defendants said that Cox Tasered Cote and that officers broke a window in Cote’s car, but denied any wrongdoing.
They also contested several of what Cote claims are “facts” in connection with the incident. The police said they used reasonable force to incapacitate Cote and were acting in good faith in legally pursuing their duties, according to their response to Cote’s lawsuit.
Bolduc and Millinocket Town Manager Eugene Conlogue could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The incident began on Oct. 31, when Cote attempted to collect his belongings from an apartment on 90 Rhode Island Ave. as he was moving out. When he arrived at the scene, he said he found many of his belongings stacked on the sidewalk and claimed Ingersoll told him, “There’s your stuff. Load her up.”
Cote claimed he told Ingersoll that he was supposed to collect his belongings from inside the apartment, and was told he could not. Cote claimed he had a bad back and tried to telephone several friends to help him collect his items.
When that was unsuccessful, Cote said, he drove away. The officers pursued him in their patrol cars with lights and sirens and Cote pulled over almost immediately, he said.
Cote claimed that Ingersoll became angry and tried to break the driver’s side window on Cote’s car after Cote told him that the window was broken and could only open halfway. Cote said he was on a cell phone, calling state police for help as Ingersoll tried to break the driver’s side window. Cox then broke the passenger’s side window, opened that door and Tasered Cote, according to the complaint.
A Taser, or stun gun, is a weapon that employs electrical current to disable and subdue suspects.
Cote claimed that he temporarily or permanently suffered post-traumatic stress, headaches, seizures and emotional distress, plus a temporary loss of income because of the incident.
The case is pending in federal court.