Allegations of Reckless Driving and Intoxication by Cumberland County Sheriff's Office During Lewiston Shooter Manhunt

During a manhunt in Lisbon, Maine, an armored vehicle from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Unit allegedly accelerated towards fellow officers, forcing them to move away to avoid being hit. The incident is under investigation, with allegations of intoxication and reckless driving by the ESU members involved.

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Allegations of Reckless Driving and Intoxication by Cumberland County Sheriff's Office During Lewiston Shooter Manhunt

Allegations of Reckless Driving and Intoxication by Cumberland County Sheriff's Office During Lewiston Shooter Manhunt

On October 25, 2023, during the intense manhunt for the Lewiston shooter in Lisbon, Maine, a dangerous incident allegedly involving the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Unit (ESU) nearly resulted in a collision with fellow officers from the Portland Police Department's Special Response Team (SRT). The incident took place on a bridge in Lisbon, where the SRT was set up, and has raised serious concerns about the conduct and judgment of the ESU members involved.

Why this matters: This incident raises questions about the accountability and professionalism of law enforcement agencies, particularly in high-stress situations. If true, the allegations of reckless driving and intoxication could erode public trust in law enforcement and have far-reaching consequences for community policing efforts.

According to an After Action Report written by Portland Police Department's Deputy Lieutenant Nick Goodman in December 2023, the ESU's armored vehicle accelerated towards the SRT, forcing them to move away from the road to avoid being hit. Deputy Lieutenant Goodman stated, "It was an MRAP armored vehicle and continued to accelerate the closer it got to us... I'd estimate the armored car came within 20-30 feet of striking our armor car and most likely killing a number of us."

The report also revealed that witnesses reported the ESU members may have been under the influence of intoxicants, with one officer stating that he could smell the aroma of intoxicants coming from inside the armored vehicle. The ESU members were not wearing specialty gear and could not explain why they responded to the scene or who gave them permission to do so.

However, Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce denies the allegations, stating, "They were responding down to the area. They came around a corner and on a bridge was apparently the Portland tactical team. And yes, they had to brake and stop, but we're not talking about squealing tires, fish-tailing, coming anywhere close to people." Sheriff Joyce also added, "I had my internal affairs investigator look into it, and he interviewed several of the tactical team members that were at the scene that particular night, even some of the supervisors. There was no indication anyone had been drinking that night."

The Portland Police Department has declined to comment further on the incident, with a spokesperson stating, "The Portland Police Department will not further discuss its after-action report regarding the 10-25-23 incidents in Lewiston, Maine." However, the Maine State Police confirmed that the incident was discussed at an after-action debriefing held on December 7th with all the involved tactical teams from Maine, and members of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office were confronted with this incident during the debriefing.

The allegations against the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Unit raise serious questions about the unit's conduct, judgment, and adherence to protocols during high-stakes situations. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office must address these concerns transparently to ensure the professionalism and accountability of its emergency response teams as the situation unfolds. The Maine State Police statement highlights the gravity of the incident:"Members of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office were confronted with this incident during the debriefing."

Key Takeaways

  • Cumberland County Sheriff's Office ESU nearly hit Portland Police SRT on a bridge during a manhunt.
  • ESU's armored vehicle accelerated towards SRT, forcing them to move away to avoid being hit.
  • Witnesses reported ESU members may have been under the influence of intoxicants.
  • Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce denies allegations, citing internal investigation.
  • Maine State Police confirmed incident was discussed at after-action debriefing with all involved teams.