Drummond Woodsum Attorneys at Law

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March 15, 2016

Attorneys Edward Benjamin and Jeana McCormick, members of the firm's Trial Services Group, successfully defended Sergeant Haley Fleming of the Winslow Police Department in an excessive force case in federal court. After four days of trial, and two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Sergeant Fleming, finding that he did not use excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

By way of background, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Sergeant Fleming, Officer Michael Michaud, and Lieutenant Joshua Veilleux, for physical and emotional injuries, false arrest and imprisonment, and trespass and illegal entry. The plaintiffs also sued the Town of Winslow on a municipal liability theory. Attorneys Benjamin and McCormick obtained summary judgment for the Town of Winslow, Officer Michaud and Lieutenant Veilleux on all counts, and for Sergeant Fleming for false arrest and imprisonment, and trespass and illegal entry. Due to a factual dispute about what happened at the time of the incident, Attorneys Benjamin and McCormick proceeded to trial on the other claims against Sergeant Fleming.

At trial, the evidence showed that Sergeant Fleming and Officer Michaud responded to a noise complaint at the plaintiffs' residence on January 2, 2012. After a short discussion on his front steps, the plaintiff became agitated and grabbed Sergeant Fleming's duty belt, causing him to fall into the house. Within seconds, the plaintiff had put Officer Michaud in a chokehold. As soon as Officer Michaud was able to break free from the chokehold, Sergeant Fleming deployed his Taser. Plaintiff was placed under arrest for assaulting a police officer and Lieutenant Veilleux observed as Sergeant Fleming and Officer Michaud walked the plaintiff to the police cruiser.

This was the first post-Ferguson police excessive force case tried in front of a jury in federal court in Maine. The Town of Winslow and its police officers acted lawfully and deserved this victory.

Media Coverage

March 15, 2016, CentralMaine.com, "Winslow Police Officer Cleared of Excessive Force in Federal Case". To read article please click here.

March 15, 2016, Bangor Daily News, "Jury Finds Winslow Officer's Use of Taser Was Not Excessive Force". To read article please click here.

Related Professional

  • Edward R. Benjamin
  • Jeana M. McCormick

  • Related Practice Areas

  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Litigation

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