HOLDEN, Maine — A cellphone text message led to an argument between an off-duty Ellsworth police officer and his live-in companion early Sunday morning, and he was arrested after she got upset and he repeatedly restrained her, Holden Police Chief Gene Worcester said Monday.
Andrew Weatherbee, 30, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence assault at about 12:05 a.m. Sunday at the Barrett Lane residence the two share.
“Apparently, they had a disagreement over a text he made … which upset her,” Worcester said. “She tried to get to the phone and he pushed her down and held her there, repeatedly.”
Eventually, the 32-year-old female victim, “was able to get to the phone and call 911,” the chief said.
After reviewing the evidence, Officer Shane Hughes determined that Weatherbee was the aggressor and arrested him, Worcester said.
Weatherbee was taken to Penobscot County Jail and was released on personal recognizance bail shortly after his arrest, the police chief said. He is scheduled to be in court on March 14.
Weatherbee is on administrative leave, with pay, pending an internal investigation that will be conducted by Lt. Harold Page, Chief John DeLeo said Monday.
“Whenever an employee has violated our standard operating procedures, or if somebody or a member of the public makes a complaint about the officer, the lieutenant will do an investigation about the incident,” DeLeo said. “Andrew was arrested by Holden PD for domestic violence — that’s the criminal aspect of it. But we will still do an internal affairs investigation to help us determine what action we will take.”
The department has standard operating procedures that guide the handling of cases involving employees who reportedly violate department rules or break laws.
“It’s certainly something we want to get done promptly,” DeLeo said. “At this point, I couldn’t tell you exactly when it’ll be done.”
Weatherbee was hired as a full-time patrol officer in Ellsworth on Aug. 8, 2008, and he is a member of the Hancock County Underage Drinking Task Force.
The Ellsworth Police Department has disciplined Weatherbee in the past, DeLeo said, declining to provide specifics about the previous incident.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.