Curtis relatives continue lawsuit in 2011 shooting

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — Two relatives of the late Michael S. Curtis of Sangerville have filed a civil lawsuit against the Maine State Police and other law enforcement officers in connection with Curtis’ death in November 2011.

    Curtis died from a gunshot wound at the Piscataquis County Fairgrounds shortly after he shot and killed his wife’s ex-husband, Udo Schneider, outside Hilltop Manor in Dover-Foxcroft.
    Curtis’ widow, Margaret “Jeannie” Curtis, who died in January, filed the original notice of claim in May 2012. On July 8, Bangor attorney Hunter Tzovarras filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michael Curtis’ daughter, Cassie Curtis, and Margaret Curtis’ brother, Mathias Poulin.
    The suit names State Trooper Jon Brown, who fired the fatal shot; State Police Col. Robert Williams, Lt. Col. Raymond Bessette, Maj. Gary Wright, Dexter Police Chief Kevin Wintle, former Dexter Police Chief James Emerson and the town of Dexter. Wintle and Emerson were named because they responded to the fairgrounds when Curtis’ whereabouts were uncertain after he shot Schneider.
    While the lawsuit claims that Curtis was unarmed when he was shot by Brown, the Maine attorney general’s office disagreed in its report of the incident.
    Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin attempted to approach Curtis during the standoff, according to the attorney general’s summary. “As Trooper Brown and Sgt. Wintle were moving closer to Mr. Curtis, Sheriff Goggin continued walking in the open field and was closing the distance between himself and Mr. Curtis,” according to the report. “When Trooper Brown found a spot where he had a closer and clearer view of Mr. Curtis, he aimed and fired one round at Mr. Curtis. At the time of the shot, Mr. Curtis was still armed and was looking in the direction of Sheriff Goggin, who was less than 150 feet from him.”
    The law enforcement agencies now have 30 days to accept the complaint and 60 days to respond to the charges. If the case goes to trial, it will more than likely be heard in federal court.

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