The Cumberland County district attorney’s office will decide whether a persistent critic of the Portland Police Department will get arrested after the critic documented on Twitter footage of police officers visiting his Portland home on Tuesday and accused police of harassment.
The Portland Press Herald reported that on the same day that two city councilors sought information about the visit, police handed a criminal mischief allegation to the prosecutor concerning Christian Milneil, a data journalist for the Boston-based StreetsBlog MASS.
City officials have said that Milneil is suspected of vandalizing a building in his neighborhood with graffiti, but Milneil has denied the accusation, taking footage of the police officers as they visited his Portland home to arrest him and he documented the incident on Twitter.
Police tweeted that officers were there to serve him a court summons for criminal mischief.
“It’s definitely not me. The notion that I would vandalize a building that I was a big advocate for is absurd,” Milneil has said. “That’s not my style of activism or advocacy. There are much more effective ways of saying that the police are overfunded.”
Christian Milneil sits on the board of the Portland Housing Authority, which is in part responsible for the building. Milneil said the police can’t press charges about observations he has made on social media, so they’re trying to wrongfully charge him for vandalism instead.
“They’re spending way too much time arresting or harassing homeless people,” he said. “I think that’s actually what they’re upset about.”
The Press Herald reported that City Councilor Kimberly Cook seeks body camera footage of Tuesday’s encounter and wants the Milneil incident to be investigated. And Cook said Councilor Pious Ali requested the report on police actions during the protests. Both want to resolve questions about the incident, Cook said.