HOULTON, Maine — A Littleton man injured a Houlton policeman so badly during an assault that the officer will be out of work for three months, according to the local police chief.
Michael C. Bennett, 20, was arrested on Jan. 18 and received felony charges of assault on an officer and aggravated assault, as well as misdemeanor counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, violating conditions of release and refusing to submit to arrest.
An official at the jail said Tuesday afternoon that Bennett made bail and was released from Aroostook County Jail in Houlton a day or two ago.
Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin said that the Jan. 18 assault on Officer Theron Bickford took place at the Houlton Police Department.
Bennett was a suspect in a theft and arrived at the police station enraged and with the suspected stolen item, a battery charger, in his possession, according to the chief.
Asselin said that Bickford escorted Bennett to an interview room and tried to calm him down. Bickford intended to summon the 20-year-old and release him, but he allegedly refused to provide information necessary for the citation. Bickford walked down the hall to the dispatch room to confirm Bennett’s personal information with Department of Motor Vehicles data and told Officer Erica Pelletier and Detective Kris Calaman that “there might be problems” with Bennett, according to the chief.
Bickford returned to the interview room, where Bennett continually swore at the officer. When Bickford attempted to arrest him, Asselin said that Pelletier and Calaman became aware of a scuffle. They ran to the room and Pelletier saw Bennett pushing Bickford.
All three officers tried to get Bennett to the floor, but the chief said the suspect continued fighting and had Bickford pinned against the wall. They succeeded in getting Bennett down, but Bickford was against the wall grimacing in pain. The chief said that Bennett was still fighting and Pelletier had to use a Taser on him twice to subdue and handcuff him.
Bickford, who thought his leg was broken, was taken to Houlton Regional Hospital by the Houlton Ambulance Department. His leg was not placed in a cast, but he is on crutches and out of work for twelve weeks, according to the chief.
He has worked as an officer in Maine for approximately 20 years, including for the Norway and Oxford police departments.
Bennett also was taken to the hospital to have the Taser probes removed before he was taken to jail.