AG won’t release files on Bangor homicide

Posted Dec. 06, 2010, at 6:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:31 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — In order to protect the privacy of the people involved in the homicide death of Ralph Greenleaf — including the person who pushed him — the Maine Attorney General’s Office has joined the Bangor Police Department in declining to release police investigative files in the case.

The Penobscot County grand jury decided Nov. 24 not to return an indictment in the death of Greenleaf, 47, who was known as “Greenie.” He was pushed once by an individual, police say.

The Bangor Daily News filed freedom of access requests with both agencies asking for the police files in order to provide the public with a clearer picture of what occurred in the minutes before Greenleaf was pushed. Both requests have been denied.

Citing state law, William Stokes, head of the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office, said in an e-mail Monday to the BDN that the information the newspaper requested is “deemed confidential” and “may not be disseminated” if its release could unduly invade personal privacy.

“I have concluded, based upon the language of 16 M.R.S.A. section 614, that there is a reasonable possibility that disclosure of the requested intelligence and investigative material would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” he said. “For the foregoing reasons, therefore, I am denying your Freedom of Access Act request.”

Stokes said last week that even with the names of those involved and witnesses removed from the reports, it would be easy to determine who pushed Greenleaf.

“You could sort of connect the dots,” he said.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office prosecutes all homicides in Maine.

Legal counsel for the Bangor Daily News agreed the documents could be withheld from the public based on the reasons cited by authorities.

Bangor police have released few details about the homicide, saying only that Greenleaf was injured just after area bars closed early on Sunday, Aug. 29, when he was pushed. At around 1:25 a.m., an unconscious Greenleaf was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He died three days later at 11:20 p.m. Sept. 1.

After Greenleaf’s death, the state medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and determined that he died of blunt force head trauma and that the manner of death was homicide.

The owner of Carolina Sports and Spirits, located near to where Greenleaf was pushed, told the Bangor Daily News in September that his bouncers told him a group of young people provoked the confrontation and needed to be pulled off the victim. A member of the band playing at the bar called an ambulance.

Frankfort resident Jack Thompson, a nephew of Greenleaf’s girlfriend, Dale Lambert, said last week that he was standing outside of Carolina’s when he heard someone say there was a fight, and he looked over and saw a group of five young men gathered around Greenleaf.

“The bouncers went over to break it up, and those five guys left, and he was on the ground having a seizure,” said Thompson, who said he testified before the grand jury. Bangor police have said a total of 16 people testified.

Lambert, Thompson and others held a rally Sunday in front of the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor to protest the grand jury’s decision not to indict anyone in Greenleaf’s homicide.

“Part of me died with him, and we just need justice,” Lambert said last week.

Thompson said Monday that the group is not discouraged by the decision by authorities not to release the police investigative files.

“We’re working on other things,” he said. “It’s not over yet.”

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