June 23, 2018
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Rockland man gets 30 months for assault on officers

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 36-year-old Rockland man was sentenced Feb. 2 to 30 months in jail for a series of crimes including assaulting two city police officers on Halloween.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm accepted the sentencing agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and the defense for David A. Carver but acknowledged he had misgivings. Assistant District Attorney Chris Fernald said that the Rockland officer, who was the victim of the more serious assault, opposed the agreement, calling it too lenient. Neither officer attended the hearing held in Knox County Superior Court.

Carver pleaded guilty to assault on an officer for knocking down Officer William Smith and then repeatedly striking him in the head with his fists to the point that the officer said he feared he was going to lose consciousness. Carver also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault against Rockland Police Sgt. Kenneth Smith, refusing to submit to arrest, two counts of drug possession and three counts of violating his bail conditions.

Fernald said he negotiated the sentence agreement based on the initial police report filed to show probable cause. He said additional information, including medical records on the injured officer, that his office sought from the police department was not provided to the prosecution. The prosecutor also said he was not aware of Smith’s opposition to the sentence until the morning of the sentencing.

The incident began when Officer Smith spotted Carver at Rock Coast Sports in downtown Rockland on Oct. 31. Smith was aware of outstanding arrest warrants for Carver for prior bail violation charges and attempted to arrest the suspect.

Smith gave verbal commands for Carver to submit to arrest but he refused and eventually Smith attempted to subdue the man with a Taser. That failed, according to Fernald, and Carver then shoved Smith the floor and struck him repeatedly in the head.

Carver then fled and was stopped by Sgt. Smith who wrestled Carver into submission.

Police reports at the time said members of a construction crew working on a nearby sewer project rushed to the scene to help Sgt. Smith subdue the suspect.

A BB gun fell from Carver’s pocket during the incident, police reported.

Officer Smith was treated and released that evening from Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

Carver also was taken to the hospital for unspecified injuries.

Carver had been sought by Rockland police for six weeks prior to his arrest after he fled a home on Fulton Street in Rockland when an officer responded to a report that he was on bath salts and other drugs.

Carver will have 41 months of a jail sentence hanging over his head upon his release from jail, Fernald noted.

Justice Hjelm said the sentence was on the low side of an acceptable range and he had concerns about the violent aggression toward the officer and Carver’s criminal history.

“I’m very skeptical about your prospects of successfully completing probation,” Hjelm said.

Carver has a criminal record that includes several assaults and drug convictions dating back to 1994.

Carver asked if he could be placed in a substance abuse program in the corrections system. Hjelm said he would recommend that but that the decision rests with the corrections department.

Carver also was fined $1,100.

Carver has filed paperwork in U.S. District Court in Portland, claiming he was the victim in the case and that that he was Tasered for no reason and that Sgt. Smith allowed a construction worker to assault him. He also named the hospital in the lawsuit for keeping him in arm and leg restraints for five days. The city and hospital have not been served nor have they filed a response.

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