Comments for: Jurors watch video of Iraq War veteran being shot by Belfast officer

Posted Oct. 29, 2012, at 3:01 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 30, 2012, at 2:57 p.m.

BELFAST | Benjamin Thompson held his head in his hands and rocked back and forth at the defendant’s table Monday morning at Waldo County Superior Court while jurors watched a video that showed him getting shot four times by a Belfast police officer last summer. It was the first …

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Belfast police Officer Dan Fitzpatrick used an automatic handgun to shoot Benjamin Thompson on June 8, 2011. He used a semiautomatic handgun.

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  • Anonymous

    Tragic story all around.
     Marine serves his country.
     Comes back traumatized.
     Severely abuses alcohol.
      And then causes major commotion hoping to get killed.
       I hope the officer that was caught up in all this can find some
    peace and quiet after all this grief.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the cop haters will come one and explain how they would have talked him down. 

    • Anonymous

      Or shot the gun out of his hands.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. Many times people criticize law enforcement for using deadly force when a gun is pointed at them…but if someone pointed a gun at me you better believe I would shoot them first if I had a gun on me and I wouldn’t be criticized. Some people (not all) just have some weird hate toward law enforcement for no reason other than the fact that they are law enforcement. 

      • I was told that he never pointed the gun at him…..I was told he had it above his head, if that is true, the cop was wrong……

        • Anonymous

          That may be true, I was just stating according to the article and there are many other cases over the years that they have had guns pointed at them and people still complain. I did say many and not all people because I try hard not to group everyone into such a general category. 

          • I see what you mean, but as far as I know of this case, the gun was not pointed at the police officer. I understand that cops have a difficult job and IF someone does threaten their life with a weapon they have a right to use deadly force, I just wish it was all reported accurately. :-(

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if that’s fair to say. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m with you, it’s not fair and quite frankly I find it extremely rude and ignorant.

      • It is true in this case.

    • teen has alcohol problem
      goes in military
      after discharge,still has alcohol problem,but now can blame it on military 

      • Anonymous

        Do you happen to know this guy personally to be able to say that?

      • Anonymous

        And you think he planned that?

      • Anonymous

        You talk about him this way and yet he would have given his life for you!

  • Anonymous

    Dudes lucky to be alive

  • Lowered standards and screenings has allowed more troubled types in, combined with actual PTSD makes for more vets with issues. Both are bad signs.

    • good point,. often parents send their troubled kid
      into the army to straighten out.  some recruits
      go into the military as a plea arrangement from 
      a judge, after they committed a crime[s]
      damaged goods on day 1 of boot camp

      • That is exactly right on this guy. He was troubled long before he met any recruiter. Serious anger issues and more growing up. Being in the military sure didn’t help with any of that. He came back with serious anger issues, tattoos and training on how to use guns. PTSD? No. He had it before he joined. He was trying for death by cop and almost succeeded. Hopefully he can get the help now he has needed all along.

        • Anonymous

          Funny, I was very good friends with him, and the only ‘anger’ I ever saw was regarding losses on the basketball court, and never violent.  Additionally, tattoos are not signs of “issues,” but being so judgemental of them can be :)

          • If you didn’t see it either you were not looking or not seeing.

          • Anonymous

            The jury in his case will be judging Thompson’s guilt or innocence and might even be “judgmental” about his neck and hand tattoos and weird spiked hair.  And who knows what a jury will do or what will sway them for or against a criminal defendant?  They might conclude that PTSD and his military service have nothing to do with his criminal threatening, drunk driving, and failure to stop.  They might reject that defense entirely and find him guilty.

        • How can you say that?? You don’t even know him?? 

        • Well, then by that way of thinking.  We should hold the military and the recruiters accountable, right?? If all these boys coming back were all bats**t crazy long before they met a recruiter then we must have a problem with our military??? Is someone there not doing their job???? Come on guys????? Be real!!!!!

          • jerrymyx

            I SO agree with you,…. gave him the help he needed!!!!   Some people who never left their Mother’s apron string long enough to join the military, are likely the very ones on here condemning this young man; while  no one condones what he did. It was wrong, but disrespecting him by your worthless opinions, is almost like a betrayal to him, Do good and support him, by thanking him for his service, never saw that comment YET!!!

      • Anonymous

        Why don’t you go?  Give you a chance to defend your freedom of speech.

    • Anonymous

      RIGHT ON THAT

    • Anonymous

       THIS I agree with. 

    • Jonathan Smith

      I saw a lot of insanity even ten years back with some new soldiers in the Army. There is only so much the command and NCO’s can do when bad apples make it through boot camp. Most who are crazy are crazy without any deployment or combat. Real PTSD should not be  taken lightly but most Vietnam Veterans with PTSD still have control of their actions and don’t drive around wasted threatening people – the same can be said for any group of veterans with PTSD. Trying to use PTSD as a crutch when the person it bat### crazy is inexcusable. I can speak from experience that the Army helps young people grow up quick – but you have to have the right set of values going into it – you have to be responsible.

      • second night of boot camp for me,one of the recruits was
        up on the roof of  a building,screaming he was superman and
        he was going to jump. some recruits were caught with dope
        some went awol. one female recruit got pregnant. one
        recruit got caught putting sand down drill Sargent’s povs
        this was 1995

        • Anonymous

          Real stealthy bunch you got hooked up with!

  • Anonymous

    Really? I am guessing you haven’t been sent to a base in the middle of the desert, mortors dropping on your area dozens of times a day, not knowing if the next ambulace coming through the gates may have a wounded marine or an insurgent wired with a bomb. Perhaps you have held the hand of a dying child whose body has been blown up by a suicide bomber? Maybe you have watched your comrads be blown to bits while they are deliverying food to a village? Then try coming home after more than a year and find yourself highly aware of every possible place of attack, not be able to sit in a restaurant without your back to the wall, grab for your gun each time a car backfires. These men and women deserve our gratitude and our support. And they don’t blame anyone. A lesson you could learn.

    • cops see disturbing events every day of the week, domestic
      abuse wives faces bashed in, fatal accidents; victims cut in half,
      beheaded children crashes. children thrown out to the street
      because the mother’s boyfriend kicked them out

      • Anonymous

        If that vet wanted to kill that cop, he would be dead.

      • Anonymous

        How many cops have had to shoot a 10 year old in the face that’s pointing a gun at them?  Not many in Maine.  How many cops in Maine have never been shot at?

      • jerrymyx

         true;however when their shift is over, they GO HOME to sleep in their own comfy bed. quite a different scene from a war torn scene!!!!!!

        • many cops are vets too that saw combat duty,they
          go home and continue to see it for decades

    • As traumatic perhaps, that you didn’t mention – is the actual killing of other people, even when the target is clearly an enemy (which it often isn’t in guerrilla warfare.)

      Some do hold the government responsible for their predicament (which isn’t quite the same as “blame”), and rightly so. Our government, and all of us by extension, put these people into harm’s way and we are responsible – right or wrong, good or bad – for caring for those who come home damaged. Absolutely.

      • Bright

        Are you so certain that taking the life of an enemy combatant is trauma inducing? I think many people would like to think it is, when in fact many good men sleep well at night. Not that it doesn’t affect some in a very tragic profound manner, and we are responsible to provide them with as much help as we can find, but to infer all, many or a majority may be a gross exaggeration.

        • Certainly not all and I made (nor make) a guess as to percentage (hence perhaps.) Many “sleep well” after enduring such things as well as other things, such as ktory and chef mention.

          Some can go through years of hell and walk out without any long term effect. Some crack under their first real stress. It’s obviously variable. The act of killing can certainly be a trigger of PTSD, just as the other things suggested.

        • Xerxies

          I understand and respect your point of view, but…..

          I am a combat veteran. (14 Yrs.  USMC) I also have been a Law Enforcement Officer for about 20 years. I can say, that the traumatic events  I have experienced over the years has had a cumulative effect… 

          I’m in my 40’s now, and well…..it’s been hard somtimes and seems to be getting harder.

    • Anonymous

      yes I have and I do not have PTSD, Been there done that

    • Jonathan Smith

       Not every veteran has PTSD. Any there are a handful who leave the military and think they have a right to act like a complete psycho. I’m a veteran and can attest that at least 95% of military people act honorably or at least stay out of trouble. But there are always criminals who enlist – become criminals while in – or run a rap sheet when they get out. You don’t get a free pass here. He tried to kill a cop. Balance your views from combat with reality back here. There are plenty of idiots who serve, never see combat, and act crazy when they get out. They are the minority thankfully.

      • jerrymyx

        I just sense  your Loyalty to your fellow comrade!!!   NOT…. I don”T know where you retrieved your stats, but I suggest a recheck!!!! on the 95%….I just can”t for the life of me, understand what your attesting to… Where did you find the time????

      • He did not try to kill a cop you jerk!!!! You don’t even know him…..the entry wound was in the BACK…..did you read that anywhere in the papers???? Or how about the second shot???? The one that hit him AFTER he hit the ground???? Being a military man I would think you would understand a little more about loyalty. Ben had NEVER been intouble before, the media is painting him in this ugly light to make the shoot look justified. Even in the wild west it was not a righteous shoot if it was in the back!!!!!!!!! Get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouth and break up your band of brothers you fool!!!!!!!!

        • Anonymous

          You make some valid points in your rebuttle but you leave out one important thing in your justification.  When he fled the first officer his clean record was getting tarnished and it just went down form there.  Secondly what do you expect law enforcement to do evry time someone brandishes a weapon at them.  They do not know who it is that they are dealing with in these situations and are trained to protect and serve.  Just as the individual had been trained by the military.

          • I was told he got out of the car with the gun above his head. That, is in no way at them.

        • Jonathan, I would like to apologize for the way I responded to your post. I was angry when I responded, I should have waited before responding. I am more angry at the coverage of this incident, rather than the unwitting comments made by misinformed people. From the information that I have been given, it is COMPLETELY different than what is being reported. I am angered at the fact that the first point of entry was in the back, and exited through the stomach!!! And to be hit after you hit the ground, that is overkill, no matter how you slice it…..sounds more like panic to me…….

    • Anonymous

      Great Answer, I Agree!

    • Jeff Dezort

      man i served with this guy!!!

  • Anonymous

    20 years military service including that year in sunny Vietnam and a few other nasty places – Stuff happens to a lot of people which reveals their character, not developing it. My son flew blackhawks in the Gulf War, Iraq, and still visits the Afghans frequently. Sorry about the marine, but someone knew he had problems as well as he did. Pulling a gun on a cop is never a solution nor is it excused.

    • Bright

      Very well said. 

    • Anonymous

      I agree completely based upon known and researched facts about PTSD and how it is either faked or used as an excuse in a rather high percentage of cases.  A very good friend of mine was a US Marine night sniper based in the green zone for 3 years.  Every night, he and 7 other guys would be sent out to snipe the Muslim fools laying IED’s with the continuing intention of killing US soldiers the next day.  The fact that my friend has no PTSD and sleeps very well every night proves that PTSD is avoidable by humans.  No matter what the excuse, factual or hallucinatory, of a fleeing armed person confronting a police officer, the officer is justified intaking them out.  In such a situation, although I respect the charged party for his service and feel for his real or perceived medical situation, it is more important that the police officer remain alive than it is for the fleeing armed man to remain alive.

  • Anonymous

    You know? I dont care what his problem is,he should NOT be driving around in a pickup in June with a LOADED SHOTGUN!!!!!!!!

    • Bright

      Which months is it OK to ride around in your truck with a loaded shotgun?

      • Anonymous

        I dont know maybe hunting season? I personally would never do it,but this is Maine,and people LOVE their guns…

        • Shouldn’t…..but do….  Wouldn’t point it at a person unless I was going to set it off.

        • Anonymous

          Maybe he just hadn’t taken it out of his car after turkey season, which ended on June 2. Maybe he was target shooting. It is perfectly legal to carry a firearm in your car any time of the year. That being said, there are restrictions on HOW you can carry a firearm in your car. Too many details and exceptions to get into here, but you can look it up, if you’d like to.

    • Anonymous

      How many vets do you know returning from Iraq or Afganistan that don’t have a weapon close?

  • Anonymous

    The price of us being FREE… we ask for their help going to war, and provide no help when they return!

    • Bright

      If it were only so simple, we’d have no violent crime regardless of military service or not.

    • Anonymous

      I have great respect for our troops. Yet the fighting in the middle east isn’t keeping us free.  The patriot act took that away from us.. Our troops never did need to be there.  The industrial war machine has made at least a tillion dollars on this war in the last ten years.. Protecting the poppy fields isn’t a reason to stay there. Spying on americans with drones and through every computer is not freedom.
      The military should come home and arrest the criminal politicians, now that would be protecting our freedoms..

      • Anonymous

        I agree.And its still a volunteer thing,isnt it?

  • Anonymous

    We take our young men and women from high school, put a gun in their hands and teach them to become killers. They bring the war back to this country and assault our citizens. While we need to do more to help these veterans, they should not be given special treatment when it comes to breaking our laws. 

    • Anonymous

      We should NOT be sending our young beautiful Americans to war…. There has to be another way…Its so …wrong.

      • Anonymous

        Amen.

  • Anonymous

     By aiming at you?

  • Anonymous

    Great…take people who are already unstable…train them to kill…send them off to war…mess them up more than ever…and then unleash them on society…

    Next time, send them to gated communities to live next door to the corporate goons who make billions off from war….

    • Anonymous

      From where I’m sitting, if you are to scared to go you are unstable. Something is wrong with someone who will let others die for them, then point fingers. I am not stating this towards the O.P., but his/her comments gave me pause to think, and i thank him/her for that. If you live in and enjoy the fruits of a democracy, certain things are required of its citizenry, some not so pleasant, however necessary I will not vote for a C.I.C. Who was too scared to serve. If you haven’t been in uniform, don’t judge this man. Those who have been surely can see both sides of this. He was wrong. In the case of the Ranger earlier this year the cop just wanted to shoot someone to brag at Dunkin Doughnuts. One non lethal shot would have disarmed him.

      • Anonymous

        Hey Einstein, if you’re scared to go to war you’re quite normal.

  • Anonymous

    I feel sorry for all involved. I feel for the young Marine, as well as the officer. I would have done the same thing as the officer in that situation. I’m glad both young men went home that night. I am a combat veteran and never felt the need to pull a weapon on anyone since my return from Vietnam over 40 years ago. I cannot say I haven’t thought of it, but just because you think something does not require you to act upon it. That is where cognition kicks in. alcohol can be used as an excuse up to a point, but being drunk does not allow one to kill law enforcement, I hope the Mr.Thompson can get some help for whatever is wrong with him. There are many resources for Mr. Thompson to avail himself too for assistance, much more than my generation. That is his job Additionally, he needs to understand that the way things are solved in society are not with firepower. That is the judicial systems job if he cannot work it out for himself.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for serving!

    • Anonymous

      Stuck, welcome home, and thank you for your service. I too am a Vietnam Vet, and as traumatic as it was, we only HAD to serve one tour. Some of these young men are having to serve three and four tours. We didn’t get much of any help when we came home, but that doesn’t mean we have to turn our back on the vets today, and we’re not. It has taken me 43 years to even start talking about my service. Now when I see a Vet, man or woman, I thank them for their service, and shake their hand. This man surely needs help and it’s available if he is convinced (ordered by the court) to seek it.
      Mainer stuck in Mississippi, and not coming back to Maine. I can ride my Harley 365 here.

      • PaulNotBunyan

        Some of them serve multiple tours because they sign over for a few more years of active duty. Some others choose to remain “weekend warriors”. I don’t recall the specific policy in that regard during the Vietnam era. I think all the people I’ve met who served multiple tours in Vietnam had extended their enlistment. Maybe some of them went twice during their first 4 years of service but they had already “re-upped” before they went the second time. I don’t know if they could have opted out of that. Most of the ones I’ve known were planning to be lifers at the time. It would probably have been a bad career move to resist a second tour in Vietnam for them.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you as well my brother, I hope it didn’t appear as if my commentary was suggesting we turn our back on this man, he needs help! He also needs to learn that you do not solve problems with a scatter gun. I can ride most of the year here as well, although it is getting too hot in the summer to do so for this ol carcass! I’ll be back in Maine for good real soon!

      • Enjoy your Harley man….that is great!!!!….lol……getting ready for the snow here again…….. :-(

  • abnormal state of mind?  maybe his choice to get drunk that night had something to do with his actions.  what memory did blue lights trigger?  I didn’t know that insurgents in Iraq used police cars for their ambush.  

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you enlist and find out?  We teach them to kill, put them in impossible situations, expect them to perform at 100% for unlimited time.  Then we say “Thanks” and put them out on the street with no cool down and retraining  for normal life.  What you said was disgusting

  • Anonymous

    I think he was lucky he didn’t shoot himself in the foot.

  • Anonymous

    The Cop Had To Do What He Had To To Survive! Period… PTSD or not.. e didn’t have time at that second to go get someone to evaluate him, he had a shotgum in his face in a few seconds his life could have ended…Sorry but it it what it is…

  • trisailer

    Sad to say, but if the officer had been a better shot there would be no trial. This may sound terrible, but law enforcement is having to bear the brunt of all this social disorder that is resulting from poor policy decisions made at the top.

    Maybe American’s will think it through the next time the hawks want to start another war…but I doubt it.

  • Anonymous

    Also gives the lawyers another defense

  • “Thompson stepped out holding a shotgun and pointed it at the officer”

    he became an official coward at this point, vet or no vet

    • Coward?????…….You don’t even know what really happened. I hope you find yourself in a position one day where the media can spin a web on you, for God’s sake, even this article lied!!!!…..he wasn’t shot 4 times!!! He was shot AT 4 times!!!! Ben is a good kid…….you don’t know him, he is NOT how they are making him sound!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Bush’s war of lies just keeps paying dividends.

    • Anonymous

      Not quite as bad as the “STAND DOWN” order given when at least 3 requests were made to “Engage the Hostiles” in Libya huh.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, of course.
        A full blown invasion and occupation based upon lies.
        Which reduced a country to rubble, killed tens of thousands of innocent people, caused a diaspora of millions more.

        versus

        Someone in our intelligence chain blowing one call on how serious one of the hundreds of threats that they evaluate every day turned out to be.

        You really should think, at least occasionally.

  • I know many many veterans who come back home,settle down and have a wonderful life, including my father who spent half a year registering bodies on Normandy Beach. as well as 4&1/2 more years in WWII.

    Dad used to say that most of the guys who came out screwed-up, went in that way.  I’m usually no fan of cops who shoot civies, but in this case, I think I would have done likewise.  Booze and guns and a “won’t stop” vehicle are not condusive to long life.

  • Forget that this guy is Veteran of any War!   A Police officer pulls over a car after a chase and the driver gets out with a gun (any gun)!  What’s he suppose to do?????   Way too many foolish people writing opinions here.    Let this guy get his mental health treatment while he’s in jail where he belongs.   Prison isn’t just for people who break laws but for people who are unsafe to live in society.

  • Anonymous

    I read all the comments. I”m a veteran. Combat service can include horrific events. There are consequences for behavior. PTSD may be correct in this case However, it does not excuse his behavior. You step out of a vehicle with a weapon and you risk the possibility of getting shot. Alcohol impaired judgement. I would not second guess the decision as I was not there.  Law enforcement, like combat requires people to make life altering decisions in seconds. We cannot debate either behavior in this forum. That said, I belive that law enforcement is overly reactive. They believe they are at “war” with crime. As a result there is a shoot first think later attitude. I don’t trust thjudgement of law enforcement officers. I do trust that the system will protect them.

  • Anonymous

    The Maine attorney general’s office also investigated and found that Fitzpatrick was justified in using deadly force when he shot and seriously wounded Thompson.

    The Maine Attorney General’s office has NEVER found that a shooting from police officers was NOT JUSTIFIED, which I find quite remarkable.

    Let me be one of the first to say THANK YOU Mr. Thompson for fighting for my freedom and for my fellow American citizens. I am sorry you are going through such a rough time and I truly hope that you will get the help for the PTSD that you suffer from and lead a happy and fruitful remainder of your life.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you George W. Bush and The Lying Neocons.

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