AUGUSTA — Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has agreed to review the 2007 fatal shooting of a teenager by a Waldoboro police officer, officials said Thursday. 

The decision to review the case for possible prosecution came after Frey was presented with new information on the shooting of Gregori Jackson of Whitefield, the AG’s office said in a statement Thursday.

“In an unprecedented decision, Attorney General Frey listened to a presentation of that new information and indicated he would review the case,” the statement said. “We are prioritizing the completion of this review over other matters.”

Waldoboro reserve officer Zachary Curtis shot the 18-year-old Jackson, who was unarmed, following a traffic stop. Curtis has accused Jackson of assaulting him and resisting arrest, and said he shot the teenager in self-defense.

The Attorney General‘s Office at the time determined the shooting was justified. If a criminal charge is filed, it would be the first time in Maine a police officer has been charged for an on-duty shooting.

District Attorney Natasha Irving has said she will seek a murder indictment against Curtis, and she reiterated that Thursday.

Natalie Jackson, the mother of Gregori Jackson, speaks during the news conference Thursday. Stephen Betts/The Courier-Gazette

Frey issued a statement June 6 contending that only he has the authority to prosecute homicides and the use of deadly force by police. Irving said that dispute may have to be decided by the courts.

Irving’s statements were made during a news conference Thursday at the State House with Jackson’s family and several state legislators.

“Gregori was murdered in cold blood by Waldoboro Police Department reserve officer Zachary Curtis,” said his mother, Natalie Jackson. “And the Maine Attorney General’s Office has covered up that murder by continuing its ridiculous tradition of justifying every single police shooting it has reviewed for over 30 years.”

She praised independent state Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship for his efforts to get the state to reopen the case. She also praised Irving, district attorney for Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties.

“Natasha Irving is our hero. She is selflessly and courageously seeking to get justice for Gregori and our family,” Jackson said.

The shooting occurred after a traffic stop on Friendship Road on Sept. 23, 2007, according to then-Attorney General Steven Rowe’s report on the incident. Curtis, then 24, determined that Jackson, a passenger in the car, was on bail conditions that prohibited him from drinking, and smelled alcohol on his breath, the report says.

When Curtis tried to arrest Jackson, he ran down the road and into the woods, pursued by Curtis, the officer told investigators.

Curtis said Jackson charged at him and Curtis landed on his back with the teenager lying facedown on top of him. Jackson tried to get control of Curtis’ gun, choked him and struck him in the head, the officer said.

When Curtis regained control of his pistol, he shot Jackson once under the left armpit, three times in the lower back and once in head, the report said. Jackson died at the scene.

Irving has said the forensic evidence does not match Curtis’ account.

Inconsistencies include that there was almost no blood on Curtis even though he said Jackson was on top of the officer when he fired his gun. Curtis also said Jackson had hit him, but there were no bruises on Jackson’s hands or Curtis’ face.

“Considering the incontrovertible evidence that Reserve Officer Curtis’ multiple shots to Gregori’s back severed Gregori’s spine, there is no justification to end Gregori Jackson’s life with that last shot to the skull,” Irving said.

Attorney Amy Fairfield, who represents the family, said the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Jackson was never asked questions by the AG’s Office during its review.

The Attorney General’s Office issued a statement Nov. 30, 2007 saying its investigation found the shooting justified. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family was denied by a federal judge in 2010.

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