Nick Meserve was a police officer.

An enforcer of laws.

He was a beloved father.

A community volunteer.

A devoted friend.

A helper of strangers.

He was, above all else, a human being.

And, like human beings everywhere, he was imperfect.

A 10-year officer with the Lewiston Police Department, he stole drugs, used drugs and ultimately died from his drug use.

Meserve’s abberant behavior most hurt the people who loved him, and will ultimately most help the people he spent a career policing, including career criminals Norman “Bo” Thompson and Jamil Dabson.

These two are but the first of what may very well be a long line of defendants, many already convicted of their crimes, who will ask the court to review their cases, reduce their sentences, or even dismiss charges because Meserve was somehow involved in their cases.

And, that is why Meserve and the consequences of his actions remain in the public eye.

It’s about ruptured trust, and the public’s need to know — their right to know — what government is doing. And that most certainly includes police and prosecutors.

In court on Wednesday, Thompson asked the judge to suppress his confession from a stop that Meserve made near the high school last November, where police chased Thompson first by car and then on foot. He has also filed a motion to reverse his current 45-month prison sentence for probation revocation as a result of that stop. In his motion, Thompson argues Meserve’s testimony was unreliable based on the drug use.

And, in July, Dabson benefited from a sweet plea deal to drop multiple charges, including a felony aggravated trafficking charge — and with it the potential of spending years in prison — because prosecutors said Meserve was seen in a police cruiser video pocketing drugs at the scene of Dabson’s arrest.

Prosecutors, hindered by Meserve’s actions — as someone who has tampered with drug evidence — and now unable to interview him, were forced to drop the charge. Instead, Dabson pleaded to a charge of simple drug possession and was sentenced to time served.

He has since been extradited to New York, where he faces robbery and assault charges, so he’s not “free,” but he got a pass on the felony trafficking charge in Maine.

District Attorney Andrew Robinson has already taken steps to inform defense attorneys when prosecutors believe there was or could be an issue with Meserve’s involvement in an arrest, and is bracing for past cases to come back for review and for present cases to be challenged.

The Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes all drug cases, will have to take a similar stance.

This critical breach of trust, opening the door on too many of Meserve’s cases, is why the Sun Journal continues to write about Meserve and the actions he took that have already jeopardized criminal court cases and are likely to affect more in the days to come.

We take no joy, despite what critics are saying, in revealing Meserve’s dark side and how that is playing out in courtrooms. We understand that this very decent man was struggling with addiction and fell victim to it, like so many others who are part of the statistical jumble of this nation’s opioid crisis.

That Meserve was a police officer makes it particularly grievous for him because the consequences of his actions reach well beyond friends and family and into our courtrooms, endangering years of prosecutions on an untold number of cases.

Are we aware that every time one of these cases comes before the bench that reporting on it will be hurtful to Meserve’s family and circle of friends? We are. We’re also aware there are questions pointed at the Lewiston Police Department where, according to that department’s chief, none of Meserve’s fellow officers say they were aware of his addiction. This, despite the fact that an investigation by multiple agencies determined his habit goes back at least two years, including stealing drugs from criminals and providing drugs to his dealer, who, we’re told, sold those drugs to others.

Is his name being dragged through the mud? Sadly, it is, by his own doing, burdened by addiction.

Everyone would surely feel better if none of this ever came to light, but it did. It’s unpleasant, it’s messy, and exposing the wrongdoing is necessary to reveal the depth of the harm.

Is this a situation that can ever be made right?

No.

Regretfully, no.

It is a situation to be exposed, examined, and remedied going forward.

That is the ugly, and very sad truth.

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