May 27, 2020
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Parents settle lawsuit with Farmington officer who killed son

Courtesy photo | BDN
Courtesy photo | BDN
Justin Michael Crowley-Smilek

PORTLAND, Maine — An excessive force lawsuit over the shooting death of a troubled Army veteran more than four years ago in front of the Farmington police station has been settled, according to information posted on the U.S. District Court’s electronic case filing system.

The parents of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who was killed by police filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit in 2013 against the town, Police Chief Jack Peck and Ryan Rosie, the officer who fatally shot Justin Michael Crowley-Smilek on Nov. 19, 2011. In October 2015, a federal judge dismissed the town and Peck from the lawsuit.

The notice that a settlement had been reached between Crowley-Smilek’s parents, Ruth E. Crowley of Portland, Oregon, and Michael W. Smilek of Farmington, who were appointed the personal representatives of their son’s estate in March 2012, and Rosie was posted Friday. Details of the settlement have not been made public.

The Maine attorney general’s office in May 2012 found that Rosie was justified in shooting Crowley-Smilek, 26, of Farmington. The report said that Rosie took cover behind a police cruiser after Crowley-Smilek ignored demands that he take his hands out of his pockets. Rosie fired after the veteran took a butcher knife out of his pocket and charged at the officer.

Efforts to reach the attorneys in the case were unsuccessful Monday.

Crowley-Smilek, who served in Afghanistan, suffered from combat stress and physical injuries from service and had been ordered to seek treatment shortly before the confrontation with police, according to a previously published report.

The bill that created the Maine Veterans Court, which is paired with the state’s mental health court, was submitted in memory of Crowley-Smilek. Signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage, it requires courts to screen veterans who enter the system and to coordinate with administrators at the Togus Veterans Affairs office to ensure veterans know about treatment programs.

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