PORTLAND — The parents of a veteran suffering from PTSD who was shot and killed more than two years ago in front of the Farmington Police Station have filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the officer who shot and killed Justin Michael Crowley-Smilek on Nov. 19, 2011, his boss and the town.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office in May 2012 found that Officer Ryan Rosie was justified in shooting Crowley-Smilek, 26, of Farmington. The report said that Rosie took cover behind a police cruiser after Crowley-Smilek ignored demands that he take his hands out of his pockets. The officer fired after the veteran took a butcher knife out of his pocket and charged at Rosie.

Crowley-Smilek, who served in Afghanistan, suffered from combat stress and physical injuries from service and had been ordered to seek treatment shortly before the confrontation with police, according to a previously published report. The lawsuit claims the veteran went to the Farmington Police Station the day he was killed to ask for help “regarding mental health services.”

“Officer Rosie never called for backup or retreated back inside the police station,” the complaint said.

The lawsuit claims that Rosie “panicked” and continued to fire at Crowley-Smilek after he was incapacitated. The officer fired at least seven times, with one bullet striking Crowley-Smilek in the back, the complaint said.

The complaint also alleges that Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck and the town failed to properly supervise Rosie, in part, because the officer was not required to attend the Maine Criminal Justice Academy before being allowed to work and carry a gun.


Rosie was never trained “regarding the use of deadly force” or “in dealing with individuals with mental illness or in tactics to defuse a potential confrontation with a person in a crisis situation,” the lawsuit claims.

Ruth E. Crowley of Portland, Ore., and Michael W. Smilek of Farmington were appointed the personal representatives of their son’s estate in March 2012 by Somerset County Probate Judge John Alsop. The case was moved to Somerset County because the parents’ attorney, Richard Morton, is the probate judge for Franklin County.

Crowley and Smilek originally filed the lawsuit Nov. 13 in Franklin County Superior Court. Douglas Ian Louison, the Boston attorney representing Rosie, Peck and the town, on Wednesday moved it to federal court in Portland. It has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John Woodcock.

The parents are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages along with costs and attorney’s fees.

Crowley-Smilek’s death led to the creation in 2012 of a special treatment court for veterans facing jail time due to substance abuse and mental health problems. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Maeghan Maloney, D-Augusta, offered it in memory of the Farmington veteran. Maloney now is district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties.

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