The Lewiston police officer who died from a fentanyl overdose in February had been stealing and selling drugs to feed his addiction, according to court documents.
The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that an attorney for Norman Thompson, 47, made the allegations in a motion filed in Androscoggin County Superior Court to challenge the use at trial of Officer Nicholas Meserve’s testimony made at a January probation hearing.
Thompson’s attorney, Paul Corey, who cited a summary report of the investigation into the officer’s death, said in the motion that Meserve, 34, can’t be cross-examined in explaining his objection to use of the deceased officer’s testimony, according to the Sun Journal.
Meserve was one of the officers who assisted in the November 2018 arrest of Thompson, who was charged with eluding an officer, passing a roadblock, criminal mischief, driving to endanger and failing to stop for an officer, the Sun Journal reports.
In response, prosecutors won’t be using Meserve’s testimony, and Androscoggin County District Attorney Andrew Robinson told the newspaper that his office is informing defense attorneys whenever “we believe that there is an issue” with Meserve’s involvement in a case.
The revelation about Meserve’s drug use, which came after he was found dead from a fentanyl overdose in his Webster Street home on Feb. 8, also led to prosecutors dropping drug charges against a New York man, who was arrested on Jan. 18, according to the Sun Journal. An investigation after his death found Meserve had pocketed drugs dropped on the ground during the arrest, Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said last month.
Meserve worked for nearly 10 years with the Lewiston Police Department. Before joining the department, he worked for the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.
Lewiston police Chief Brian T. O’Malley said last month that no officers within his department had knowledge of Meserve’s substance use disorder nor his possession of narcotics.
O’Malley has said that his department conducts regular reviews of an officer’s use of force, sick time usage, job performance evaluations and complaints from the public, but none of the reviews indicated that Meserve had been “battling a drug dependency issue or addiction issue.”
“This is a reminder that the opioid epidemic touches the lives of many in the community regardless of their wealth, race, religion or profession,” O’Malley said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call 211 or visit www.211maine.org.