September 23, 2017
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Comments for: Ouster of elderly man from Searsport tank meeting sparks discord

SEARSPORT, Maine — A confrontation between police and opponents of a liquid propane tank under consideration by the town planning board erupted in the lobby outside the meeting Wednesday night after an officer evicted an elderly man. Almost three hours into the meeting in the Searsport… Read More
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  • What does the citizen’s age have to do with the story?

    • ROOK

      It made for a good headline. The article, however focuses too much on the what than the why.

      • Anonymous

        The “why” wasn’t clear last night. We’re planning a follow-up story today.

        • Anonymous

          Thank you, Mr. Groening. I look forward to more facts and less bias.

    • Admin Person

      My thoughts exactly!!

    • Anonymous

      he was relaltively defenseless and not particularly “threateneing” ? looks like bullying and police intimidation ??

    • Mike White

      RESPECT

    • Anonymous

      I would say it’s because many of us were taught as children to respect our elders.

    • Superuser23

      Because the elderly apparently pose a threat to town meetings.

  • Anonymous

    If someone was going to build a 23 million gallon liquid propane tank near my home I just might get a little uppity during the hearing. The poor man seems embarrassed.

    So, if 23 million gallons of liquid propane in Searsport, a town without a single full-time firefighter as it happens, were to I don’t know say EXPLODE WITH THE FORCE OF A NUCLEAR WEAPON, would they be able to hear the sound in Boston? What would happen to property values in Searsport afterwards? Would the crater be usable as a roomy and deep harbor for our Navy’s carrier battle groups?

    • PaulNotBunyan

      If they had 10 full-time firefighters would that make it any better? I think the explosion would be the same in any case.

    • Anonymous

      Ummm, aren’t there already dozens of tanks in the searsport area? I thought the moonbats were upset that they might “see” this one? Grow up and let the democratic process be the deciding factor.

      • Anonymous

        Moonbats? Really? That’s original.

        Local residents already see what’s at the Searsport waterfront from many different vantage-points. What’s upsetting to thousands of us is the bottle-necking of Rt. 1 and Penobscot Bay.

      • Anonymous

        The existing tanks have home heating fuels and gasoline in them and are not visible from Route 1. Apples and Oranges here……….

        • Tom Brown III

          ok if its apples and oranges if you just talking about the esthetics of the tanks. 15-30 million gallon tanks are pretty typical sizes and there are plenty of them all over the state. Heating fuel and gasoline are no more or less dangerous in containerized form then liquid propane.

          • Anonymous

            You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. There is not one such 30-million-gallon tank on Earth, let alone in Maine. At nearly 23 million gallons, the proposed tank would be the largest on the East Coast and possibly in the world. This tank would have about eight times the capacity of the next largest tank at Mack Point. At nearly three times the height of the next largest tank, this is simply NOT “another tank.”

    • Tom Brown III

      Liquid
      propane is not flammable, nor is it explosive. It must be vaporized
      into a gas with the right combination of propane and oxygen to ignite.

      23 million gallons of propane does not come close to a nuclear weapon at all. They have massive fuel storage units at BIA to store the much more volatile jp fuels and even if they went up in a BLEVE explosion it would still not level the city of bangor like a nuclear warhead would.

      • Anonymous

        JP4 has about the same volatility as kerosene. Nowhere near the hazard.

      • Anonymous

        Well then I stand corrected, thank you.

        How much damage do you think it could do, if it vaporized from a leak and caught fire?

      • Anonymous

        Please stop writing nonsense and confusing the issue for other readers. You seem to be making up things as you go along. You are not a good example of the merits of literacy.

  • Anonymous

    Please go back to Boston and fight this valiant fight.

  • christopher hyk

    I was sitting two feet away from where this vicious and totally unprovoked attack took place. Mr. Crimaudo was whispering to a fellow and was brutally set upon by the Police Officer, it was a disgrace, and just one more example of the censorship that has been the hallmark of these proceedings from the beginning. This officer should be put on leave until there is an investigation of his conduct this evening, it was a shameful display of brutality towards a pillar of the community.

    • Old man brutalized by police for whispering. Yeah…sounds legit.

      • Were you there?

      • Mr. Biggs..there were many many many witnesses..were you there..were you a witness..if not why would you even venture an opinion that contradicts the eye witness of everyone there?????

        • Naw, I was on a drinking binge with the tooth fairy. Equally believable.

          Looks like the police have some ‘splainin’ to do, beating this poor man senseless in a “vicious and totally unprovoked attack” for merely whispering.

          • Anonymous

            Are you 13 years old or merely mentally challenged? Your attempt at sarcasm is lame and unwarranted. Go play in the street, little boy.

          • That the best you got? *yawn*

          • Thanks for clarifying that you were not in fact there..how is the tooth fairy by the way?

    • Anonymous

      Given the fact that Mr. Crimaudo left the building under his own power on his own two feet it would appear the claim that the attack was “vicious” is a little exaggerated. Most vicious attacks end up with someone either in the hospital or the morgue. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  • Anonymous

    So much for free speech…….

  • Admin Person

    Cops remove a respected and beloved resident of the town from tank meeting…

  • Guest

    Propane trucks, along with other vehicles transporting significantly more dangerous chemicals, travel through Searsport on a regular basis. Lets ban them from Searsport too.

    Also, if police were being unfair to that man for his views, wouldn’t they have been unfair to the people surrounding the officers with their “shame” signs? Yup. But they weren’t. This guy did something above and beyond to get kicked out. I am sure this man had been warned a few times for disorderly conduct before he was escorted out; meaning that the recorders that the officers wear on their duty-belts probably have recorded him being warned not to do the things he had been doing during the meeting. Thank you BDN for posting this without doing appropriate fact digging; a mere “he’s a beloved citizen” is extraordinarily biased and causes improper opinions to be formed without fact. Beloved citizens can cause unecessary disturbances as well, and any good journalist wouldn’t post that quote without getting both sides of the story first.

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree more, he obviously did something repeatedly after being warned not to do so. I have found that in these situations cops are usually very tolerant and knowing Chief LaHaye, he is even more tolerant and understanding than most officers. Whether this man was young, old, tall, or short, the rules were clearly explained that no interruptions would be tolerated…..yet Mr Crimaudo thought these rules did not apply to him or maybe he thought he could get away with it because he is such a “beloved citizen”. This is kind of funny because I have lived in Searsport all of my life and have never seen or heard of this so called “beloved citizen”. Kudos to the Searsport Police Dept. for sticking to your guns and not tolerating disturbances. These meetings need to be run in an orderly manner and they obviously are.

      • Anonymous

        Were you there? I was. He did nothing wrong . The young police officer over-reacted. It happens. Ben was whispering to someone. Ben was upset because the supposedly objective Planning Board consultant was answering questions for DCP. The supposedly objective consultant referred to part of the project as “our flare” as he was speaking. He interrupted like this three times. He was finally stopped by the head of the Planning Board and told to let DCP’s people answer the questions.
        Go figure.
        This consultant has and probably will continue to do work for DCP.
        SO much for objective review.
        The whole enterprise has been riddled with these subtle but steady incidents.

        There is a lot more going on than is showing up in the BDN.
        More to come.
        Ben only spoke out loud when grabbed by the cop.
        A very dangerous old man, indeed!

      • Anonymous

        A quick search shows that Mr. Crimaudo lived in three different towns in New Jersey before coming to Searsport, so this would explain why you have never seen or heard of him. But, Mr. Crimaudo had the right to be at the meeting as long as he wasn’t being disruptive or threatening anybody.

      • Anonymous

        I would say you need to get out more and meet the people in town. Gotta take your head out of the sand to do that though.

      • Anonymous

        is whisperiog to another at a PUBLIC meeting “disruption” ? This wasn’t Mass in a catholic church in which whispering WOULD get you a slap up side the head by your parent .

    • Anonymous

      There was no disturbance until the young police officer stepped in and started this. I believe people were video taping the episode.

      I believe it was a simple over-reaction by the officer, it happens. He did not, however, need to make the scene that occurred.

      Ben was whispering.

      When beloved citizens or hated ones are beset upon for a free speech concern by the police, we need to question things.

      This situation should have been that the head of the planning board tells you that you are speaking when you shouldn’t. If you do not stop, you are asked to leave the room. Those are the rules.

      There was nothing going on to cause the planning board head to notice it until the police officer acted.

      No one wants to ban the existing truck traffic, although a major proponent for the tank has said in public that he avoids the Rt. 1 corridor because of the traffic in the summertime. More is not better in this case. Not for 6-12 jobs.

  • Anonymous

    The mans age had nothing to do with it!

  • Anonymous

    At least now the pro-tank people will see that not all of those opposed are wild-eyed leftist hippie freaks. One look at Ben Crimaudo will dispel that myth.

    At least now the corruption in Searsport, with first the fire department and now the police department publicly displaying their support of the intruder, is out in the open for all to see.

    That is cold comfort for one who knows and loves Ben Crimaudo and the town of Searsport. It should be cold comfort for any American who loves free speech.

    • Anonymous

      good point—- hard to characterize the oppostion as a small group of outside “agitators “.

    • Anonymous

      Well,we need all sorts of people to make a complete society,”wild eyed hippie freaks”{do they still make them?}and elderly gents and yeah,even republicans..Oh,and black flies and snakes too.There,that should be about it..

  • Anonymous

    Tase em all…..

    • Anonymous

      And, what exactly would that accomplish?

  • Anonymous

    I know the BDN is probably vehemently opposed to this project but I thought their journalistic integrity would supersede their own views, I was wrong. Is there some reason they didn’t take the time to get an explanation from Chief LaHaye, as he is a very reasonable man and would have likely given you a thorough explanation of the “FACTS”. As opposed to printing “Some of those who rallied around Crimaudo in the lobby were in tears…” It seems that the BDN spoke to everyone in the room, aside from the police officers, as there are multiple quotes and recollections from those in attendance.

  • Anonymous

    Police bullying , grandstanding, and causing the biggest disturbance of the entire meeting picking on a defensless aged citizen, moreover setting the precident that you will sit quietly as this tank is slammed down your throats like it or not because the police dept has been promised new cruisers, a cushy job for their relative whatever.. typical corruption in anytown USA…

    • Anonymous

      Your assessment of corruption is misinformed and unfair.

      • Anonymous

        sorry Mrs. LaHaye

  • Anonymous

    I guess if it’s a protest that supports a liberal, left-wing position, than anything is acceptable. Typical.

    • Anonymous

      Oh come on. A protest that supports a liberal, left-winged position? Can you write anything more obscure and uninformative?

  • I wasn’t in the meeting and I don’t know what happened, but I have known Ben Crimaudo for YEARS and I know him to be a kind and respectful gentleman. I know how passionately he feels about this issue but I am shocked that he could do ANYTHING worthy of being removed from a meeting. This makes me very sad that he was treated so disrespectfully and not allowed to participate in a meeting that will impact the town where he owns a home and pays taxes. This just isn’t right.

    • Conley Raye

      He is very lucky that they didn’t give him a beating outside as that was the police tactic of yesteryear which seems that this group wants to employ along with the fear factor. How awful for this old gentlemen and totally embarrassing for the entire town and all the officials. I would think that all the tax payers need to group together to eliminate this type of thought process and behavior.

      The issue is not as important as the action that was demonstrated.

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking that maybe they thought he was a red commie and that he needed a beat down. Now if they start going through his mail, tap his phones, and start a “file” on him, the transformation of the town will be complete.

  • Anonymous

    “In a government bottomed on the will of all, the …liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all” …. Thomas Jefferson

  • budvoss2

    God when in the heck are the residents of Maine going to smarten up and let work come to Maine. Heck build that next to my house. Maine needs work not protesters

  • Anonymous

    Thug cops taking advantage of an old man….an exercise in displaying their ridiculous presumption of power, nothing more
    Citizens of Searsport, find out who these “police officers” are and let them know you don’t appreciate their lack of respect for the law and the abuse of their role as public SERVANTS
    We the people need to stand up for our rights and collectively force these police thugs to can the power-trip, sit down, and chill out

  • Anonymous

    I have been attending these meetings all week and had wondered why it was necessary to have police cars at the entrance to the building as well as uniformed police officers standing around the meeting. It was quite bizarre that the police would take it upon themselves to remove a gentleman from the meeting because he was speaking quietly. It was an ugly scene. Under whose direction were they acting? The man was not given any warning to be quiet; he was simply escorted out by the police and threatened with arrest. For talking?

    • Michael Spaulding

      because not everybody is capable of acting like an adult and engaging in civil discourse.

    • Thank you for this witness to truth..simply stated and accurate and eloqouent because of that..and thank you for being at all the meetings..you are on my wall of heroes.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the crowd of residents wants to pick a fight, make it look like they are the innocent side, and be able to blame it on the system and the cops.

    • Anonymous

      How were they “picking a fight “? They were attending a PUBLIC hearing

  • HeidiN Brugger

    I feel sorry for Planning Board cCairman Probert, who has done an excellent job of controlling the crowd while allowing them some short flares–not unlike those projected for the tank facility–in order to keep balance. Too bad no one controls the Searsport Police, who were moving people choosing to sit on the DCP side of the floor and finally removing Ben Crimaudo, creating the distrubance that Probert had been avoiding while censoring free speech. No one in the crowd knew there had been a “disturbance” until LaHaye forcefully ejected Crimaudo. Crimaudo had not created a disturbance, and it seems that LaHaye wasn’t going to feel he had done his work for DCP until he could show his heavy hand. Steve Hinchman, lawyer for Thanks But No Tank, noted for the record that this was an act of censorship–Crimaudo being removed for what he said and not for doing anything that disrupted the proceedings. LaHayes actions reveal that the Searsport Police have taken a stand–not for law and order but for the 1%–and in doing so they have made a sham of the public hearings despite the good work of the planning board and its chairman.

  • Anonymous

    It seems it would have been easy enough to find out why this man was removed,the Officers account of what happened. There were no charges filed so the Officer , or the Chief, should be free to comment. Above I said “it would seem” because I don’t see that much time was spent by this “reporter’ getting that information from the Police. A rush to get the sexy headline printed (story filed after 10pm) or a reporters bias shinning through?

  • Guest

    Sounds like the police over reacted.

    • Anonymous

      sounds like he should be fired.

  • Anonymous

    There is a process for applying for building permits and new construction. There is a site design review and other required actions before the public hearing process. But one key thing to remember is that if your zoning allows for the construction of the said project on the table your planning board cannot deny the process. If the citizens think that the project is not what they would like to see in a particular zone then they should request a zone change, which is another whole process. This may require a moratorium while this process is completed. These are just some quick thoughts and you would have to get to the nuts and bolts of them but they are options. In the mean time the planning board must proceed with the task at hand. The citizens should be involved and should request that the process be explained to them. Just because you don’t want something in your back yard is not grounds to protest.

    • Anonymous

      The OP brings up the most important element of this: if a community’s ordinances (zoning) allow the particular activity in the particular zone, the project has every right to move forward, as long as it abides by other provisions in the local/state/federal ordinances and laws. The planning board (or zoning board) review(s) are meant to ensure that all rules and guidelines are adhered to.

      This is always a misunderstanding of people who are adamantly against some sort of project, whatever it may be. They feel that because the local governing board is allowing the project to move forward, that they have been corrupted, are biased, are getting a pay-off, or some other such nonsense. It probably happens, but not at the rate antis and activists seem to believe.

      Remember that the ordinances in place had been approved and voted upon by the community – more often than not by the those same people who are dead set against the project. If one is not happy about how a project may be allowed in the community, one is wasting their efforts and looking like fools trying to stop something that is allowed by ordinance(s).

      It would not be a waste of time, however, making sure that whatever the project is, that it adheres to other applicable rules and regulations in place.

      In the fracas that always erupts around even the most miniscule of development in Maine, a contested project sometimes will not adhere to other rules/regs in place. This is because the review process becomes something else altogether. Instead it becomes a contentious affair and important issues are easily overlooked because of all the distractions and non sequitor activities.

      So if one is against a particular project or development, one’s energy is best applied in an upfront manner: get involved in local governance before something comes up. Learn the process. Trying to change something after the fact only not only underscores one’s ignorance of how local government works, but often leaves communities divided and relationships splintered.

      • Anonymous

        This tank is at an international deep water cargo port…this is where this project beongs…its not by accident…..

      • Anonymous

        this is a public hearing, before the fact . You are right about the planning Board role and charge and summarized it well. BUT the people still have the right to speak and present info at a PUBLIC hearing

        .The council /town council can overrule and disagree with the Planning Board, IF they approve it . The council can make a POLITICAL decision. If the developer disagrees with the decision and believe they have violated the law, then HE can sue.

    • Anonymous

      Your understanding that the rules are set in stone is too simplistic. There is a process and it includes public hearings to vet out issues that are not revealed during the normal permitting process. That is why citizens are using this opportunity to voice their objections.

    • Anonymous

      a public hearing is intended to get public input it looks like that is what the public was doing not “protesting ” It may following the zoning BUT NOT the comp plan..That is a legitimate point to make .

  • Hey….if we got to live with democrat welfare slugs…you can live with a “money making” tank!

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha. The headline makes it sound like they were meeting in a tank! Seriously, you can’t just let elderly people go around talking. Sounds like Searsport is a law and order town.

    • Anonymous

      Who wants to live in a town where old people are allowed to whisper? Why didn’t they TASE this gentleman?

  • Anonymous

    Searsport residents have themselves a nice little gestapo headed by Lahaye…

    • Anonymous

      I disagree. Chief LaHaye is a fair and community-minded police chief. His subordinate made a human error. He overreacted. He made a mistake. It does concern me, but hardly qualifies as a “nice little gestapo”.

      • Anonymous

        I watch the video of the incident, looks like he backed up his subordinates error 110%, that and wanting the reporter to shut off a recording device makes it look to me like they wanted no evidence of their actions.

        • thank you for your witness to truth in this..I hope all will make sure there is a clear collective record of all witness accounts and some kind of formal complaint and call for disciplinary action against the officers involved. Writing here lets the wolr know what is going on but it is also important to translate that into action to seek justice.

          • Tom Brown III

            disciplinary action? I guess filing a formal complaint is up to Mr. Crimaudo but disciplinary action doesn’t seem warranted as there was no assault by the officer or use of unjustified force nor was Mr. Crimaudo arrested/charged with a crime and incurred any sort of bail or legal fees.

            At best I think a complaint if it were lodge should result in a sit down between the PD and Mr. Crimaudo for an apology.

            I make small errors in my work and if I received disciplinary action after every mistake I would become cynical and resentful and probably not do my job with enthusiasm an ferver. People want to crucify police at every turn, this was a mistake by the cop he was in the wrong I don’t debate that. But no one was harmed in any way, at worst maybe slightly embarrassed. Not worth putting a scarlet letter in some guys jacket that will follow him for his career.

          • Anonymous

            The officer placed his hands on him. By law, that is an assault.

          • Thanks Tom good guidelines..I didn’t intend to be making a specific call for action..rather just to convey that it was a very rude and unwarranted use of police force..against an elderly person who bless him at 75 managed to come out a night to a public hearing.

            The officer deserved some sort of official action ..it should not just be excused or overlooked.

      • Anonymous

        if he was fair then why did he tell everyone to shut off their cameras?

        • Anonymous

          people get arrested for taking pictures or videos while in public spaces and violating no actual laws. Welcome to the new America.

      • Anonymous

        Then he should be making a public apology to this poor man for “overreacting”. It’s disgraceful to do this to your elders.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, but I disagree. LaHaye’s love of seat belt checkpoints alone is enough to win him the title of head SS officer. Now we can pile on more rights violations.

        This is how all law enforcement acts today. Violate our natural born human rights and then when it’s over try and justify it or give some lame apology. Either way the damage is done and law enforcement will continue to become more militarized and oppressive. That is the way things operate and it will not change.

        • Anonymous

          We will be like 1930’s Germany in no time. Law enforcement in this country is so militarized now it’s scary, put that with the fact that in most instances they are above the law, recipie for disaster.

          • Tom Brown III

            no doubt that para military police forces are on the rise. spawned from a war on drugs that created a thriving black market for organized as well as de-centralized/localized street crime to grow on. If you don’t like the growing state of the police or the police state then fight the war on drugs and other vice.

            However, if we expect the police to be on the front line of the war on drugs against gang bankers with ak’s then they are going in on equal footing.

            This is not how ALL law enforcement acts. there are millions of interactions with the police every day and only a few cases make the news every day/week/month of some sort of misuse of power (not saying those few instances are acceptable just the rate is low).

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, I’m all for going to war against the “gang bankers” — with or without AK47s. The ones with fountain pens actually do a more brutal job.

          • Anonymous

            I agree, cops have a very difficult and dangerous job. However give any group of people no matter how well intentioned increasing power and at the same time hold them to less and less of a standard of behavior and you have all the makings of a police state. Police officer should be held to at least the same standards as everyone else. If this officer violated the elderly gentlemans constitutional rights (which it looks like he did) his job should be in jeporady for it. He is sworn to uphold the constitutution, not trample it.

    • Tom Brown III

      relax lepage.

      • Anonymous

        Go back to sleep little sheep.

    • Anonymous

      “of, by ,and for the people” …get it?? YUP, How DARE the people object…..They DARE because our form of democracy allows it and facilitates it. It was a PUBLIC hearing for the PUBLIC’s input .”The PEOPLE”, still rule, so far . Yup I know there is an effort by a certain element to silence the voters and make “corporations”; people…. BUT they haven’t totally “taken over “YET !!

  • Conley Raye

    Seems that the Police over reacted with this old person. No respect for age just a
    little adrenalin rush for the cops. There is a more meaningful and respectful way to handle this situation You just don’t manhandle or disrespect an elder person, like this. These cops should be required to attend some interaction courses, immediately. The town needs to weigh in, at once.

    • Anonymous

      the police department should be disbanded.

      • Anonymous

        Not disbanded, just investigated on and re-vamped.

      • Anonymous

        Like we use to say in the 60s…next time your in trouble call a hippie.

        • Anonymous

          there’s still state police and county police covering that area.
          why does a town with such a small population need a “police force” complete with all of the brutal tactics and complete disregard for individual liberties?

          • Anonymous

            You will have to ask the people of Searsport that question, they are the ones who approved it.

          • Anonymous

            did they “approve “it ? or was the police presence a special request from someone?

          • Anonymous

            That was from a comment about why a small town like Searsport has a Police Dep.

        • Anonymous

          Are you in trouble?

          • Anonymous

            I have been sometimes with my comments. I have found on here many people get very upset if ya don’t agree with them or challenge their view.

          • Anonymous

            Welcome to the anonymity (and false bravura) of the internet. Just keep commenting!

  • Superuser23

    If you are going to attend a meeting and cops are already present, chances are nothing is in a citizens favor as the town fears the people who are allowed to speak. No surprise that people get picked on like this, how many times was this guy asked to leave before the cops laid a hand on him?

    • Anonymous

      Ben was not given any warnings from the chair of the planning board that he was being disruptive. In fact no-one found him to be disruptive except for the police officer who overreacted.

      • Superuser23

        and that is where the police and town gets away with abuse of power. If you put a hand on the cop they would take it as a threat and arrest you, but if you personally disrupt a cop who probably is not an opponent to the project, it is a different story Lay a hand on one of the members of the town they would have taken it as a threat too. It is too bad the residents are not allowed to speak their mind, even to the person sitting next to them.

    • Anonymous

      “how many times was this guy asked to leave before the cops laid a hand on him?:Sounds like “NONE “, but I wasn’t there .

  • Conley Raye

    Imagine, looks like the nursing homes in Searsport better be careful, the police may use the elderly patients as demo’s for the real town meetings.

  • Anonymous

    Just leave Maine to all the rich and want to be from away

  • Anonymous

    Remember when only fishermen lived on the coast and it would not be allowed today as it would smell beyond what could be tolerated by away people or those not needing to work…..working people need jobs and this will further reduce energy costs for all the state..Live Free or Die… Work or Starve if able !!

  • Anonymous

    Nobody that has been paying attention should be surprised by what happened at the meeting last night. Right from the start its been obvious that Mr Probert and the board have been setting the stage for this project to be steamrolled into happening. They have set all the rules, the agendas, and roadblocks cafefully into place to ensure that the will of big money will prevail. And by enlisting the help of the Fire Department and now apparently the Police as well, have continued to attempt to squash any objections to it. Does anyone remember a Fire Chief making a statement to the effect of not responding in a timely fashion to a fire at the home of a tank opponent? One would have to ask who gave the order or request to the police officer to remove Mr. Crimaudo from the meeting, and based on what violation of law? If an officer grabbed me or a family member in a physical way and was not in the process of making an arrest, then I would have him/her brought up on assault charges. They have no right to put their hands on you any more than anyone else does unless you are under arrest.
    These strong-armed tactics, along with statements made by town officials, and the lack of straight answers from the proposed owners of the tank who hide behind lawyers rather that speaking for themselves, just create further questions as to the dog and pony show that is obviously totally scripted to get the end result that the “powers that be” have wanted all along.

    • speaking truth to power and one of the worst examples of public adminsitration I have ever seen in more than 40 years of public service

    • Anonymous

      I agree: “who gave the order or request to the police officer to remove Mr. Crimaudo?” If he did so only of his own volition, and while not in the process of making an arrest, I think the officer may be guilty of a civil rights violation.

  • dave

    Wait till they find out about the Under the table cash being paid to the council members by the Tank people. Yes, somebody knows about that.

  • Anonymous

    How many Searsport residents complaining about dangers of the Propane tank, use wood stoves at home?

    Wood stoves produce “creosote” which can cause exploding fires, Asthma symptoms can arise due to the smoke from wood-burning stoves,A decline in lung function,chronic bronchitis,premature death, Hazardous to children, because their lungs are still developing

    How come you Searsport people that use wood stoves are not complaining about the dangers of wood stoves? It is better than freezing? Now look at the propane tank…

    • Anonymous

      Wood stoves don’t explode with catastrophic damage. But hell you probably wouldnt hear the bang up in Skow-Town.

    • Anonymous

      What a ridiculous argument…

      • Anonymous

        A wood stove is hazardous to one’s health,the same way a propane tank may be hazardous. They both are better than freezing

  • Anonymous

    What a terrible headline! This incident should never have happened and its unfortunate on many levels. I think Chief LaHaye is a fine man who is fair and community minded. I also witnessed the event last night and I can confirm that Mr. Crimaudo, in fact, did no more than many people were doing throughout the evening: whispering in the ear of someone, his opinion. He did nothing wrong. I believe the police officer over-reacted. He is not a known police officer in our town. Perhaps he is new or perhaps he has been brought in from outside, but it speaks to the point that he didn’t know our community members and he was simply following his orders AS HE INTERPRETED them with little common sense. This is troubling. His actions toward Ben were unnecessary and caused unnecessary harm. The writer of this story does not help with his sensationalistic headlines and biased story lines. This story creates further divide in a town already tense with uncertainty. This week we’ve seen excellent stories coming from the Portland Press Herald and the Kennebec Journal and the Penobscot Pilot about the Searsport Planning Board proceedings. The BDN writers for this story have consistently been misinformed and/or sensationalistic in their bias.

    • Anonymous

      Did he get wrestled to the ground? Did he get tazed? Did he get billy-clubbed? did he get arrested? No,no,no, and no. The police escorted him out and THAT is called ‘police overreacting’?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, Mr. Smart Alec. The police officer overreacted and caused a public disruption to and otherwise civil public proceeding. Just because someone wasn’t physically harmed, doesn’t mean that a mistake didn’t occur. Get off your high horse. I am in fact a strong supporter of a fair, well run, police department and even they, sometimes, make mistakes.

        • Anonymous

          The police and police departments are subordinates of the town/city council. That means they follow orders, behave,show up or not show at town events, according to the whims of their higher ups.

          • Anonymous

            wrong. They enforce the law. They have NO authority to do anything else.

          • Anonymous

            what “law ” was the man violating?

      • Anonymous

        he grabbed the man by the arm and “directed” him out.

        in the real world, when you’re not above the law, doing so to another individual would be “assualt”

        the police are not above the law.

        • Anonymous

          Cops usually arrest , they gave the disorderly civilian a break.

          • Anonymous

            witneseses say the man wasn’t disorderly .

        • Anonymous

          They are not supposed to be above the law but most often are.

      • Anonymous

        I wonder the picture if that man lived in say…Egypt…..he did ok I’m guessing….

      • Anonymous

        he was asked to leave a PUBLIC hearing , set up for the public’s opinion and input .I’d say something more important was violated —-HIS freedom to assemble and speak .

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know any of the people involved but I tend to agree with you. It sounds like the police, knowing there may be trouble as shown by the forewarning of how the meeting was to proceed, may have been a little over exuberant in dealing with the older man. I’m sure the police were told before hand to take preventive measures before an all out brawl took place. That officer was just a little too quick. I also agree with you regarding the newspaper exploiting the situation by its sensational headline. Instead of escalating this affair I think it can be toned down by a little one on one talk and maybe an apology and maybe a chat with the officer.

  • Anonymous

    Well it would appear that chief LaHaye lives up to his first name….

  • MaineBob

    Here is video from the hallway with Ben, Police and Protesters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FN2riok6Cs

    • Anonymous

      more police telling the press to turn their cameras off. cops need to be fired, disband the police department.
      obvioulsy those police don’t respect, defend, or uphold the constitution and our bill of rights.
      picking on an old man, bullies.

    • Anonymous

      About several individuals in the crowd were causing a public disturbance and attempting to incite a riot. Perhaps an AG should view the video and issue summons.

      • Anonymous

        You can’t be serious.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting video, I wonder how a police officer would react if I asked him to turn of his car camera and microphone? double standards, gotta love em

  • Anonymous

    What is wrong with this picture
    42% of Searsport residents collect government welfare…but the residents do not want new jobs to come to town,.

    • Guest

      What is wrong is people like who, who keep telling the same old story, lies included ad nauseam .

      • Anonymous

        42% is from Maine,State of, records. open to anyone who wants to view them. Or visit the local DHS office.

    • Anonymous

      More misinformed chatter from Mr. Skowheganresident…. people opposed to the tank DO infact want jobs for the residents, but every community needs to be selective about the types of industry they bring into their communities. The Mega Tank is, in my opinion, not a good choice for all of the reasons that will be outlined at tonight’s presentation by citizens against the tank. Not one person will say they are against jobs and prosperity for the people of Searsport. They will however outline their concerns for the safety of all citizens of the village and surrounding communities as well as demonstrate how the tank will have a net-loss on the economy, not, a net-gain. Suppose a developer came to town and wanted to build a movie studio in our community? Sounds good right? Lots of direct and in-direct jobs would be associated with the building of the studio and then all of the affiliated support positions to run the industry. Sounds good until you learn that the studio is intended to be a porn studio and suddenly the bigger picture emerges and everyone is up in arms from a moral perspective. Safety for our community’s young people will take front and center stage. Are those who oppose the porn industry anti-job folks because their values on morality and their need to protect the community, supersede the fact that the porn movie studio will provide lots and lots of jobs? No. Of course not. The mega-tank is not the right industry for Searsport. DCP is a company with a track record of lying and bullying small communities and despite the fact that all of their presenters come across as reasonable and well intentioned folks, the fact is, the company cannot be trusted to do as it says it will. Their bottom line is about cash and profit and not the greater good of our community despite the tremendous impact it will have if it is built. This is, in my opinion, a dangerous project and will only serve those who build it and a few affiliated entities in Searsport. It does not serve the greater good.

      • Anonymous

        your opinion based on pre-conceived fears and maybe a fossil fuel depot does not fit into your ideology. Its is not a dangerous project and your use of the term shows you are biased against the reality of such an energy project…..Are there examples where energy infrastructure did not become a net job gainer?…I would be shocked if there was.

        • Anonymous

          Ask the coal miners about that. An energy infrastructure can just be another buggy whip.

        • Anonymous

          why, yes, Mr. Waldo2010… you’d better sit down so the shock doesn’t knock you over. There are examples of energy infrastructure being a netloss for jobs. Just come to the Searsport Planning Board meeting tonight and learn more, or read about it tomorrow.

  • BDN Ombudsman

    Don’t these people realize that by being disrespectful and condescending, they push people to accept the other side? I don’t really care either way if the tank comes, but I don’t really want to be associated with the type of people who object to the proposal. Win hearts and minds, don’t call people stupid for not accepting your fear based arguments.

  • Anonymous

    A kinder and more gentle approach was what was needed here. The Chairman should have called a recess to the proceedings, then taken his concerns about this out-of-control whisperer to the police who either could have spoken to the individual, or made an announcement before meeting resumed, that such quiet outbursts would not be tolerated.

  • Anonymous

    In this day and age, who can be 100% sure ? an upstanding member of a community can not also be a disgruntled subject intending to do bodily harm to the opposing members of a controversial issue. Walking down to the front of a controversial meeting and saying something quietly to the attorney was highly irregular and inappropriate, and endangered the public safety to some measurable extent.
    The police responded appropriately and with leniency. An arrest was warranted regardless of words said, IMO

  • Anonymous

    This is bad and lazy training. It’s like hitting a child — it’s the easiest thing to do, but there are so many things wrong with it. You don’t need to touch someone or pull them to ask them to leave. You don’t need to grab someone and force them out to indicate that what they’re doing is inappropriate.

  • Anonymous

    ouster of Elderly man??

  • Anonymous

    Upon reading another article about the proposed tank I am seeing it would make for two more police officers being hired. Its becoming a little clearer to me now.

  • Anonymous

    How dare those peasants challenge the superior intellect and judgement of law enforcement? Send them all to the gulags

  • Anonymous

    I live in Searsport, think the proposed mega-tank is a terrible idea and was standing less than eight feet from Ben Crimaudo when this incident erupted. I saw everything that happened. Having always seen Police Chief Dick LaHaye as a decent and responsible law enforcement professional I have no reason to believe he or any of his officers are working as part of some diabolical conspiracy on behalf of DCP Midstream. I really don’t believe in those comic book scenarios for simpleminded people involving evil pigs gleefully taking direct orders from the so-called One Percent.

    Rather, my impression of this incident lies somewhat along the lines of the idea that when you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail. In other words, when you’re a young obviously ill-trained police officer with more repressed testosterone than sense and experience everybody looks like a “perp.”

    Ben came over to the right aisle of the room where I was standing taking photographs and began a whispered — let me repeat that, WHISPERED — conversation with a colleague (not one of the TBNT attorneys as reported.) It was a discrete conversation such as almost everyone in the audience, no matter what their position on the mega-tank, undoubtedly had more than a few times in the course of the evening. There was nothing at all remarkable about Mr. Crimaudo’s behavior but the young officer approached him and told him to be quiet. When Mr. Crimaudo, quietly and throughout the incident in control of himself, protested that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, the officer told him he had to leave the room and then clumsily knuckled onto him and tried to drag him out.

    Naturally there was quite a commotion. Chief LaHaye acted swiftly in what was potentially a dangerous situation and got Mr. Crimaudo, who if hardly pleased with his treatment was polite and cooperative throughout, to leave the room before a riot broke out.

    The real problem Wednesday evening and throughout these hearings is the practice of stationing around the room three or more uniformed police officers positively creaking and clanking in their bulletproof vests and military-style gear as if Searsport were a Taliban-ridden hamlet somewhere in Afghanistan instead of a small Maine town. This is not only unnecessary, as Wednesday’s incident demonstrates it begs for trouble.

    No, Mr. Crimaudo was not arrested, “only” publicly humiliated and denied participation in a democratic process he’s entitled to. Another young officer, also with more pugnacity than an understanding of law and common sense, made a further mess of things by physically attempting to stop another mega-tank opponent from filming the incident as it continued to play out outside the hearing room.

    The injustice suffered by Mr. Crimaudo offered the further harm of of inciting among the truly ignorant the idea, well illustrated by some of the truly stupid comments on this page, that if the police act as if you have done something wrong, then, of course, you must have done something wrong. After all, who needs a tiresome judicial system when John Q. Knucklehead already has everything figured out. With the widespread adoption of such an attitude, a totalitarian police state is really not that far off.

    Finally, with the BDN’s Tom Groening, a predictably slavish groveler at the feet of authority and power, this incident proved a major distraction away from the ongoing story of a billion-dollar corporation using its enormous resources to manipulate, intimidate and buy off a small town in pursuit of its own profits. Mr. Groening’s distinctly secondary account elsewhere of the actual hearing proceedings proves about as substantive as the report from economic consultant Nancy Fannon, whose overpriced high school C-minus term paper was ripped to shreds Wednesday evening by attorneys from BOTH sides.

    Of course, if you weren’t there you wouldn’t know about that and about much else that was newsworthy. In the glare of a sensationalist opportunity, reporting even simple numbers seems to be beyond Mr. Groening’s ability. Six-figure sums about destroyed property values for our local Angler’s Restaurant, for instance, are too much for him to get right. Not content with effectively downplaying one specific economic effect of DCP Midstream’s proposed mega-tank, he even managed to lop 28 feet off its 138-foot height.

    A couple of Searsport police officers ought to be sent packing. It would be a treat to see a certain “reporter” join them on the unemployment line. But I’d be sufficiently delighted if it were just DCP that went away.

    • Anonymous

      my guess is the police presence was intended to “suggest” the people were something to fear and to intimidate “the people” . Sorry BUT; we don’t do that in THIS country ….

      YES sometime public meeting get raucus .Setting the rules generally takes care of that. A gentle reminder from the chair , if rules are violated, ususlly does the trick.. A police presence isn’t usually necessary and is overkill .

      Clearly SOMEONE requested a police presence, because “someone” was scared . WHO? Were there any credible threats to justify the police presence?.Or was one side just afraid of being “out numbered?

    • Anonymous

      Just because you couldn’t maintain a career as a reporter you shouldn’t pick on someone who can!

    • Anonymous

      By your own words a “riot” almost broke out, sounds like the cops were trying to control a bunch of haters.

  • Guest

    Cops don’t like their images to be captured on film.

  • This is a shame. This lovely and much beloved elderly gentleman was not making a scene or in any way trying to disrupt the hearings. The police and the planning board owe this man and all the opponents a written and very public ( iei press release) apology.

    Searsport officials have been and continue to behave very badly in violation of their own ordinances..very recklessly and carelessly and without regard to the public interest in everything to do with this gigantic trojan horse they themselves helped haul into town. That alone is bad for business and investment in Searsport. I certainly wouldn’t want to risk any capital in a town where officials behave in this way.

  • Maria Gifford

    Sounds like Big Monies Heavy Hand.. Typical..
    Bulling in Action”’

  • Searsport Native

    I do believe that Chairman Probert gave everyone their first and only warning on Monday night at the beginning of the hearing. All through the hearing opponents of the project could be heard snickering, mocking and making inappropriate outbursts. I feel that two nights of that being allowed to happen was WAY more than fair on the Chair’s part. It was Mr. Crimaudo who made a slanderous outburst on his departure from the annual Town Meeting, so this is par for the course. The comment made by Mr. Hall’s lawyer on Tuesday night to one of the experts was HIGHLY inappropriate and completely un-professional. Just goes to show how mis-behaved these people are.

    • Anonymous

      Translation……mis-behaved= anything said or done but anyone who disagrees.

      • Anonymous

        And bringing up something that happened at town meeting and has nothing to do with what happened last night, except to try to label the gentleman as a troublemaker. Your comments lead me to wonder if he wasn’t in fact “targeted” as a problem before the meeting ever started last night.

  • Anonymous

    Wow,those are some goofey looking cops! Are they REAL cops? Or were they rent-a-cops for the evening?

  • Anonymous

    I have to ask. Would there be this much outrage if someone in favor of the tank had been escorted out?

  • Anonymous

    I remember when Searsport was known for having a terrible school system. The schools are improving; however, now there is a police department with the reasoning ability of Barney Fife.

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