Farmington selectmen decline bench donation in memory of veteran shot by police

FARMINGTON — Acting on a request to place a memorial bench for Justin Crowley Smilek in Meetinghouse Park or another location where veterans are honored, selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday not to accept the donation as offered from his mother, Ruth Crowley.

After speaking with residents and veterans, the majority of those were concerned about the park remaining a site for conflict-specific memorials, rather than person-specific, Chairman Stephan Bunker said.

The municipal park on Main Street has three memorials dedicated to World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. 

Crowley's request included a statement engraved on the bench, "In loving memory of Justin Crowley-Smilek, U.S. Army Ranger-Operation Enduring Freedom and veterans everywhere. Donated by Ruth Crowley," said Michael Smilek, Crowley-Smilek's father from Farmington.

Crowley-Smilek was an Army Ranger suffering from severe combat stress from a tour in Afghanistan. He died Nov. 19, 2011, outside the town's Municipal Building after he raised a knife toward a Farmington police officer who then shot him.

After the family received an offer to place a memorial bench for him in a Lewiston park, his mother wanted to purchase and place one in Farmington where he lived, Smilek told the board.

The town park's memorials lack recognition of veterans from the last 10 years of conflict, Lorna Smilek said. The bench would be for all people, all veterans.

Perhaps the wording on the bench could be changed and start by mentioning all veterans of Enduring Freedom and Crowley-Smilek's name below it, suggested Mark Stofan.

If Crowley is willing to donate a bench, another area on town property might be considered, Richard Simcock suggested.

The board needs to act on the request as presented, Selectman Drew Hufnagel explained to the Smileks prior to the vote.

Bunker encouraged the Smileks to not give up but to consider a greater group of veterans and to contact local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion groups where they might find support.

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Isis  Whalen's picture


I just don’t think people are being open minded in this matter, it’s a bench, Justin did a lot more for our country than most would think of doing, he saw things none of us could imagine seeing and he sadly brought home the fight and lost, mentally. This is something that no one can understand unless they have been there, Everyone has opinions, and Some more than others, But what I don’t understand, is everyone seems to be bringing his criminal history into this, yes, he made mistakes, he has gotten into fights, what man hasn’t?..That’s what’s wrong with this country, everyone is so quick to jump at what they hear, or hate people because of the imagine they’ve seen, what about the person inside? The person who has family, friends, fought for his country for YEARS and needed help that he WASN’T given..What about that? I hate seeing all these negative people writing what they feel should have happened, save your strength for your own personal drama.

 's picture

Togus Revised...

Justin might have not done what he did if Togus had given him the help that he needed, but instead they refused to give this man help...He was suffering from severe PSTD...I think his mother should donate the money to the family that her son hurt...Just saying...

 's picture


I also think Justin should get a bench, but the people that he hurt should be getting something too, because this man that got hurt may never be able to support his family again...

Ruth Crowley's picture

and what family would that be

The ones in Afghanistan or that one in Pakistan? What family did Justin hurt? If you are, in any way, referring to an incident last year in Farmington, Maine you are speaking without merit. There was never a day in court,
and there never will be. That incident is as dead as my son.

Roger Moulton's picture


Ruth I don't even want to begin to imagine what you are going through and kinda feel bad even commenting, but that incident in Farmington last year left a man with damage that he will have for the rest of his life. He was in a car not bothering anyone when your son approached him. An action like that is not the result of ptsd it is a very bad personal decision. Again I feel terrible for you and I do feel our government failed your son but for you to say that the incident is dead is just crazy. Your son beat a drunken nearly passed out man in the head with a flashlight simply because he wouldn't drive drunk to bring your son somewhere. Put yourself in his shoes or the shoes of his wife or his children. Again terribly sorry for your loss but you should have some sympathy for the man that was helpless and beaten by your son. Part of being a good parent is admitting when your child is wrong and if you can't correct it at least letting them know that they were wrong. How dare you brush that off as an "incident" that has no relevance.

Ruth Crowley's picture

something about casting a first stone

This is the last post and the last time I look at these posts. You were not at that bar nor was I. There were three people involved and there has not been a day in court.
In this country you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Do you have medical records that show that a man is injured for "the rest of his life"? If I had an injury that say, for instance, made it painful to move my arm, and I was a labouror. That injury would not make it impossible for me to work, it would make it impossible pound nails. What I was trying to instill in my son, Justin, before he was killed was to find something he could do despite his PTSD. If you can't do something, then you do something else.
I never would say Justin was an angel. There's some saying about casting the first stone that comes to mind. Mr Conkey was passed out drunk while his daughter was hospitalized in Boston?
Justin will never have his day in court.Trust me, I would rather Justin have his day in court than the alternative scenario.
Mr Conkey is 21 years old and has his whole life in front of him. He has choices to make about what path he would like to take as far as employment. Mr Conkey has his 4 children and his life..he has his life.
Some of the comments I have been reading and hearing talk as if Justin did not matter. He mattered to a lot of people. You know that beautiful smile he had? He had it because he was beautiful.
I am going to go on my way now and enjoy the memories of my beautiful son.

Roger Moulton's picture


I don't want to keep bothering you but you said "Mr. Conkey was passed out drunk while his daughter was hospitalized in boston" and actually I said the same thing when I heard about it from a mutual friend of mine and Mr. Conkey's but Mr. Conkey wasn't going to be able to go to boston on the night in question so he went to the bar where his friend is a bartender to have a shoulder to lean on rather than sitting home lonely stewing on it and possibly doing something dumb during his hard times. At least he had the decency to sleep it off in his vehicle rather than drive while intoxicated. We all would rather Justin was still here and able to have his day in court. I do feel terribly sorry for you and understand why you want to keep your sons memory alive but putting down his victim and making it seem as if Justin was innocent in that situation isn't going to help you. Just don't get involved with that part of it and remember Justin for the good that you knew in him, don't defend him on one subject where deep inside even you know he was wrong. We've all made mistakes and I'm not saying Justin was a bad person at all, simply saying in that particular "incident" Justin did a bad thing and he was in the wrong. I don't know Justin or Mr. Conkey (I know his wife but have never met him) and I feel bad for both of them and their families.

Isis  Whalen's picture


Ruth, some of the people on here seem to be very narrow minded, and cannot seem to forget the past and what they have heard of the stories, as you can read in my comment on this article, it’s very clear to see people are still dwelling on rumors/stories from the past and not focusing on what’s important here, I feel that your son should have gotten the bench, that was such a wonderful idea, and to think that they turned it down “because of conflict-specific memorials, rather than person-specific “ is pathetic, There is plenty of room in the park, and Farmington to be able to honor those who deserve it, like Justin, each person is special, don’t let any of these idiots responding to this ruin your mood, they don’t matter. Xo

 's picture


Justin might have not done what he did if Togus had given him the helpthat he needed him, but instead they refused to give this man help...He was suffering from severe PSTD...I think his mother should donate the money to the family that her son hurt...Just saying...

Gordon Goldsmith's picture

Farmington selectmen decline bench donation

This man attacked a man earlier this year in the parking lot of a local Farmington bar. A friend of ours was seriously injured when Justin Crowley Smilek tried to steal his car. The man's son was in Boston Children's Hospital with serious health issues at the time and this guy beat him so badly that he'll probably never be able to support his family again! Rewarding this kind of behavior with a memorial is untenable and his mother should donate the money to my friend's wife and child...they are the real victims here!!

Randall Pond's picture

Board declines bench donation for park


Glad I don't Live in Small Town Small Minded Farmington, Maine!

DAMN, People! All the family wants to do is honor their SON! HOW CRUDE CAN YOU PEOPLE BE!

Matt White's picture

No Clue

You clearly have no clue at all the background of this man's torment in the town of Farmington do you? Honor their son?!?!?!?!?! You mean the son that severely beat a man (for no reason other than his anger) to the point of hospitalization after a night at the bar? Or the son that brought a gun to a UMF basketball game and put everyone's life at risk there? Or do you mean the son that went after a Farmington police officer with a knife and caused him to have to make a life altering decision to shoot and kill a man while on duty to protect his life and the lives in the community? Yeah we should put a bench in our town park dedicated to him (said as sarcastically as possible). How do you feel about it now Randall? Still think we must have our minds closed?? Or are you still left with no clue......

Ruth Crowley's picture

I would love to offer up the

[This comment has been removed at the request of the poster]

Randall Pond's picture

Yeah I do! He's Still A

Yeah I do! He's Still A United States Veteran who the System F**KED OVER! If he had gotten Help for His PTSD and his other Mental Illnesses, He Might still be alive and could have lived a Normal life.


Roger Moulton's picture

glad that was pointed out

I'm glad that it was pointed out that he was offered help and refused it. And Randall you didn't need to tell us you had a mental illness we were already well aware from your posts. I do want to remind you that plenty of people have gone through what Justin went through and came home and contributed to our society in a positive manner. I lived with a vietnam vet that saw worse things than Mr. Crowley could ever imagine, and while he wasn't all there mentally he never harmed a soul. And the gentleman I am referring to was a tunnel rat. do a little research on tunnel rats and you'll see he went through far more than Mr. Crowley.
Now I always tell someone there is no point in complaining/arguing unless you have an alternative for what you are arguing/complaining against. So you tell me mr puddle what exactly do you suggest we should have done for Justin? Because if you can't tell me where we failed or how we could have bettered it then your argument is pointless but that's not hard for you because everything you say is pointless.

Matt White's picture

You're misinformed

You must pull your information out of thin air good sir. He WAS given help, you see if you had a clue (which you still don't) Justin wasn't taking his medication, which he was given to help with his "illness". He was off his meds as they say. So, yes, WE DID help him, he just refused the help and went on a wild spree that ended up with him being shot fatally with damn good reason. He was crazy, violent, unpredictable, and criminal. He was a good man to many I am sure, but like I said before, he BEAT A MAN INTO HOSPITALIZATION FOR NO REASON, BROUGHT A LOADED GUN TO A PLACE WITH CHILDREN AND STUDENTS (for no reason... and don't even try to defend this!! fact is that in all reality he did not need to bring a gun to a basketball game, doesn't take a genius like yourself to figure this one out) AND HE WENT, LIKE A MANIAC, AT A POLICE OFFICER WITH A KNIFE IN ORDER TO COMMIT SUICIDE BY COP!!!!!!!! AND YES HIS FIANCE AND FRIENDS AND FAMILY HAVE SAID THAT THEY ARE CERTAIN HE WENT TO THE POLICE STATION KNOWING WHAT HE WAS ABOUT TO DO AND THAT HE WANTED TO DIE THAT'S WHY HE LEFT HIS CELLPHONE AND WATCH AND OTHER BELONGINGS INCLUDING HIS DOG AT HOME BEFORE HE WENT TO CAUSE MAYHEM AND CAUSE AN OFFICER TO SHOOT HIM DEAD. So the fact that we should have been more open minded and memorialized him is just plain ignorant and stupid. It's like putting up a memorial for a criminal in your hometown. I'm sure Charlie Manson did some nice things in his days, but does that change the fact that he was a criminal?!?! You got your head screwed on backwards good ole Randall. And to go along with Roger Moulton, we are glad that you don't live here. We don't like to fill our great state with morons such as yourself. And yes Randall most people have to ask for help, that's common sense that if you don't want the help, no ones gonna force it on you, so maybe IF HE ACTUALLY WANTED THE HELP HE WOULD HAVE GOT IT.....Oh WAIT...DAMN, WE DID GIVE HIM HELP (meds and counseling), HE JUST WASN'T FOLLOWING IT! Let's see what intelligent nonsense you'll come back with now ;)

Randall Pond's picture

asking for help

So everyone that doesn't ask for help, it's okay to Shoot them with a Gun than deal with their problem? WOW! I am Glad Mr. White You're not in charge of Farmington. A**Holes like You Will NEVER know what it's like to suffer from Mental Illness so Severely you can't ask for help as you're afraid that everyone's out to get You! And Jerks like you around, I wonder Why?!

Randall Pond's picture

Committing sucide

Committing Suicide is a Permanent Solution to a temporary Problem and The System Failed this Young Man.

And for the record Jacka**, I don't pull things out of the AIR~!

I happen to Suffer from Mental Illness myself. Thankfully I did get help but, this man Didn't and it WAS WRONG WRONG WRONG!

The Way the government has it's rules they failed this young man. Not every Mentally Ill individual can ask for help. His Actions spoke for him and you People DID NOTHING FOR HIM! Shooting him with a Gun was easier than getting the man the help he needed. Maine Justice at it's Best!

Gary Ham's picture


are yoe lumping ALL Mainers in the category so eloquently described in your last sentence? If so, I hope you hide those sentiments from the patrons of your business.

Randall Pond's picture

My Business

Honey I don't live In Maine. I smartened up and got the HELL OUT!

Roger Moulton's picture


you my friend are an idiot. I can't believe that you want to make a hero out of this man. If Justin was so upset about the things he had to do in the military the absolute last thing he would do is beat an innocent man for no reason. I believe Justin was not a saint before going into the military. While we as a nation failed him after he returned I'm still not going to say he's a hero and deserves a memorial bench. Actually let's put up a memorial bench for those who have gone through the same thing Justin did, yet came home and contributed to our society in a positive manner rather than beating innocent people and attacking policemen. And lastly Maine couldn't be happier to have one less ignorant bonehead in our state.

Randall Pond's picture

Making a Hero out of the Man

Really? Seriously? So all the Men and Women that didn't Die in Iraq or Afghanistan who have died from the Mental Illness of Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder Aren't Heroes? Really? Seriously? They went and fought for Our Country the United States of America and something happened inside them and they snapped when they came home and they are No Longer a Hero? Man, I've never in my 45 years of living heard such Negative Talk come out of people.

Whether you agree or disagree with me I really don't care. The whole point of My Argument is THIS:

The System Failed this Young Man and his family. Whether your narrow negative minds can see that point or not, It's the truth. He wouldn't be dead and wouldn't have gone to the police station with the knife had that judge said what he said. He had to ask for the Help. HE WAS PEOPLE IN HIS OWN WAY! THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! YOU'RE ARGUING THAT HE DIDN'T ASK AND HIS ACTIONS WERE SCREAMING IT AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS AND BECAUSE OF STUPID RULES OF THE STATE OF MAINE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS TO WHAT QUALIFIES AS ASKING FOR HELP, KILLED THIS MAN! You People are So Blind with your Ignorance you have No Clue what Justin Crowley Smilek was going through! In his Own Very Sick way he was crying out for help BUT, Because he didn't verbally ask for it, And when at a Farmington cop with a knife, Killing him is Justified in your Eyes. The Horror is over. The Menace of Society is Gone! Case closed, AMEN! BULLPUCKY!

Justin Crowley Smilek was shot and killed because the law says the officer felt his life was threaten. I'm sure I would have felt THE EXACT SAME WAY! BUT, I WOULD NOT HAVE ANSWERED WITH MY GUN!

Roger Moulton's picture

no dummy

Never said that any soldier that has died form ptsd is not a hero. But the ones who beat an innocent helpless man with a flashlight, carry a gun into a basketball game, and come at an officer with a knife just so that in his own twisted mind it's not suicide are NOT heroes. I've always said suicide is probably the most selfish act anyone can make in life and to bring a police officer into it is just terrible. That poor officer was only at work supporting his family when Justin came to him and made him end Justin's life. What about the ptsd that that cop will now have, what about his nightmares. Sorry but serving in our military and seeing/doing terrible things does not give you the right to act in any way you want and just blame it on the fact that you were in a war. Beating a man with a flashlight is NOT a cry for help it's just plain being a d bag. Ptsd is not something you can chemically diagnose or see or that has the same symptoms with everyone. It is a term that some shrink came up with somewhere to give a name to people that simply went through a difficult time and can't hack it mentally. I have a friend that commited suicide after returning from Iraq. While I do in my own opinion think his actions were selfish and I do feel that he wasn't offered the help he needed, he did not bring someone else into it he committed suicide by himself, no cops nothing. Again it is a very sad thing and I think our troops should be helped to the best we can and maybe screened to see if they can mentally handle war prior to going. But when you come home and act like Justin did I'm sorry I'm not going to announce you as a hero. And I ask you again Mr. Puddle what do you suggest we could have done better for Mr. Crowley and what do you think we should do for future veterans that have ptsd? you don't know, you got......nothing you just wanna say we failed and we should help but you have no clue where to start and unfortunately neither do we. And as far as Mr. White, I know him personally and he is a very laid back, caring, honest guy. He just has a brain and sees it for what it is and gave his opinion. Just because you served in the military and went to war does not mean you are a hero and can ruin the lives of several people and write it off as a cry for help. Heroes are the ones that go to war, come back and take care of their family and heroes deal with the pain rather than taking themselves away from their loved ones. And as far as mental illness I look at it as an excuse. Pedofile's, Rapist, Murderers all have mental illnesses obviously to commit crimes like they do. Should we just send them to treatment call them heroes and say what they did was okay cuz they had a mental illness? Again I am very sorry to those that cared for Justin and I'm sure he did have times where he was a great caring person. Oh and also Mr. Puddle GFY!


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