Winthrop Chief Draws His Gun During Botched Sting in Another Town

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Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
Winthrop Chief Draws His Gun During Botched Sting in Another Town

KJ Story

Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: 7:51 AM

A Kennebec Journal investigation: Looking down the barrel of a gun
Winthrop police chief drew his pistol on an innocent man over stolen golf clubs in a sting set up as a favor to a 'family friend' -- the son of the town attorney

By Michael Shepherd Staff Writer

Joel Coon sat on the tailgate of his GMC Suburban, golf clubs at his side. He watched the younger man, who he knew as “Danny,” get out of the passenger side of a black sedan.

Snip..Coon froze as he was ordered by Danny’s father to drop to the ground. He didn’t know if it was a prank or if he was being robbed.

Seconds later, Coon was looking down the barrel of a gun.

Part One of Two Parts

*****************

It was Chief Young's gun...oops the golf clubs were not stolen!!

#1 The Chief is a bit far from Winthrop.
#2 His assumptions made him look like an idiot.
#3 The lawfull man had a gun drawn on him over some golf clubs.

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
When can a Cop draw his gun?

When can a Cop draw his gun? Whenever they feel like a threat is learking

NY Times Story On the topic of police drawing their guns on people.

There are no specific guidelines in the Police Department's Patrol Guide, the thick manual that details police procedure, on when an officer can draw a weapon. Police officials said yesterday that the current policy was a simple approach based on judgment and training, and one official pointed out that the decision on whether to draw a weapon was often made in a split second and often tempered by fear.

''The current policy is, you draw your gun when you believe it is necessary to defend yourself and others,'' said one senior police official. ''It is based on common sense.'' The Common Sence Standard, who would ever guess that Cheif Young needed common sence.
.

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
Meet Cheif Young From WPD Web

Meet Cheif Young

From WPD Web Page: "As Chief of Police, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Winthrop Police Department website. The Winthrop Police Department is comprised of dedicated professional men and women who are committed to our community. As a department, we are proud of the spirit of cooperation within our community and we are committed to working together to make certain that our community is a safe and pleasant place to live, work and play."......so on and so forth.

I've lived in Winthrop and it's a safe place, but who know maybe Chief Young will draw his gun on people meeting in the public places to make a classifed add purchase.

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
Were I a member of the

Were I a member of the Winthrop Town Council, I would be both embarrassed, and angry, over this botched operation that seems to have been a rather "amateurish" attempt at carrying out a hastily arranged vendetta against the supposed "thief" of a friends property, than it was to carry out a "professional law enforcement operation" in a "professional" manner. After all the Town has been paying this man, for 20 some years, for his professional ability, not lack of, as demonstrated here.

Many times, in the USA, criminal acts have been perpetrated by perps masquerading as police officers. The best means of ID that any cop has is not his "voice" but his badge! Sometimes people who are going to commit a crime "tell" people they are cops, but aren't. I would think that badge should have been presented right up front, along with the gun, if the officer thought it necessary.

One of the big questions is did the office show the badge in a timely fashion. Another question is why they were doing this in another jurisdiction, without someone from that agency as part of it.

If someone in plain clothes, pulled a gun on me, and did not show any badge, I would be terrified, as would most anybody, in this day and age.

Was the officer's "safety" in question?

I hope Mr Coon has a good attorney, as I believe, from the story anyway, that this was a terribly poorly carried out operation, and the cop should learn that from it. The trouble with "power and authority" is that it is a very corrupting force that can sometimes lead good people to do very stupid things, like this.

On the surface it seems a bit over the top, to draw a gun on someone over supposedly stolen golf clubs, especially if you don't know that they guy with them was the actual thief.

Good thing it was not in LA or they would be burying Mr Coon!

WC

Gaffer
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Joined: 12/11/1999 - 1:01am
As Wc noted, many times the

As Wc noted, many times the power and authority of the police tend to overcome both common sense and respect for us civilians who by the way pay their salaries. There is an oft time perception that the police are arrogant and condescending and picture themselves above the public. That is fostered by training and used to maintain order, yet it is frequently overdone and widens the gap that exists between public and law enforcement. They feel it is necessary for their own protection, but breeds an us vs. them mentality that is uncalled for.

thejohnchapman
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Joined: 03/21/2000 - 1:01am
One of the reasons most

One of the reasons most departments want things to go "through channels" is that the people best trained and equipped to perform an operation should be tasked with doing it. When the guy at the top (whose knowledge of budgetary and political matters may be unparalleled) plans an operation from the bottom up, this is what can happen.

PS: Plainclothes operations can get law enforcement officers justifiably shot. They are fraught with danger, ESPECIALLY where someone who looks like a civilian pulls a gun.

Ugenetoo
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Joined: 08/05/2011 - 12:32pm
$450 set of golf

$450 set of golf clubs?
Winthrop should be proud.
It doesn't seem much different than two Chicagoans in a shootout over a pair of sneakers does it?

Rebecca
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Joined: 05/07/2008 - 3:17pm
It looks as though retirement

It looks as though retirement may be in his future. Imagine the fallout had this "officer" shot the man. The headline "POLICE CHIEF SHOOTS MAN DEAD FOR SELLING GOLF CLUBS" comes to mind.

Ugenetoo
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Joined: 08/05/2011 - 12:32pm
!8 years ago I attended a

!8 years ago I attended a bachelor party for my son at an Augusta area resturaunt/drinking establishment.
Three Winthrop PD cops showed up to party (off hours I assume).
Three of the biggest jerks to ever lift a beer as far as I'm concerned, so I'm not surprised at this.
The chief might have been one of those three.

thejohnchapman
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Joined: 03/21/2000 - 1:01am
Imagine if an armed citizen

Imagine if an armed citizen or cop from the jurisdiction had dumped the Chief to terminate the "armed robbery" apparently targeting a seller of golf clubs.

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
If someone in civilian

If someone in civilian clothing pulls a gun on me, and does not produce any badge, I would feel justified in reaching for my little friend at my side.

Your comment earlier, about the danger to cops, in these plain clothes ops, is pretty compelling. I can see how one, not following protocol real carefully, could end up on the wrong end of a gun, pretty easily.

WC

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
From the Story: "Town Manager

From the Story: "Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston conducted an investigation clearing Young of wrongdoing. Law enforcement experts told the Kennebec Journal that Young was justified in pulling his gun and it doesn’t appear any laws were broken."

Is the Town Manager qualified to conduct such an investigation? Would he even know what to look for as far a policy issues in police matters?

I would file a formal complaint with MCJA if reference to any firearms procedures that may have been violated. Granted no “laws” where broken, there is a code of conduct that must be adhered to that is not law, but subject to interpretation.

Bruce Libby
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Joined: 01/17/2006 - 7:08pm
Anyone aware what is told in

Anyone aware what is told in training reference distance you are in danger of a person w/ a knife ?
It is 10 feet. A golf club is no less of a danger if used as a weapon .
Subtract the length of a golf club from that , w/in reach of a person and consider that in the threat assessment !

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
Truly a bone-headed stunt.

Truly a bone-headed stunt. And the town attorney's condoning this scheme seems to me to step over the bounds of professionalism.

From the story - Drago, a former assistant police chief in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who runs a law enforcement consulting firm, said Young needs “a lot more training in how to conduct a covert operation or undercover operation.”

>“There’s a list of mistakes or failures on his part in conducting that operation that made it a lot more dangerous than it had to be,” Drago said.

“There was a general lack of operational knowledge which made this operation very difficult to plan for,” he wrote.

And finally - Young said he accidentally left his cellphone at the golf course. That would prove to be a problem as the sting went down. Bwah,hah,hah,hah! This is priceless!!!

Gaffer
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Joined: 12/11/1999 - 1:01am
A perfect example of

A perfect example of government bureaucracy in action. When will the sheeple wake up?

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
Bruce stated: "A golf club is

Bruce stated: "A golf club is no less of a danger if used as a weapon ."

It would depend on if it was an “Assault Cub” or a standard 9 iron. :)

Tiger Woods might know something about golf clubs being a danger.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
The stunt pulled by the

The stunt pulled by the Winthrop police chief is unbelievable... in a town not in his jurisdiction, with no notice to the local authorities, and then it turns out the supposed thief was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

He's very lucky nobody got hurt.

Roger Ek
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Joined: 11/18/2002 - 1:01am
Doubled.

Doubled.

Roger Ek
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Joined: 11/18/2002 - 1:01am
The best thing about this

The best thing about this weather is that you can clean up after the dog with a 9 iron.

taxfoe
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Joined: 03/22/2000 - 1:01am
A few observations: The pic

A few observations:

The pic of Tiger is priceless.

Gardiner PD x 2 were present and in on it and that should pretty much stifle any jurisdictional issues.

I am astonished that, 6 months later, the chief is still employed by the Town of Winthrop. OK, not really.

The reporter and KJ are to be commended for the depth and detail of the story. Too bad that standard isn't routinely applied to . . news. KJ was included in the Sussman deal, right?

Tom C. will be along to re-caption Rebecca's post, pre and post discovery of the video.

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
Maine seems to have a lower

Maine seems to have a lower expectation for Police Chiefs. In K-Port the Chief was caught driving intoxicated, it went away. In Monmouth a former Chief abused his power over Postal PO Box identity, he was put on probation for a year from MCJA. Now this crazy stunt and nothing becomes of it.

Abacus
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Joined: 01/14/2011 - 12:21pm
We are all equal under the

We are all equal under the law, but some people are more equal than others.

Mike Travers
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Joined: 08/04/2002 - 12:01am
If someone not in unform

If someone not in unform pulls a gun on someone without first showing a badge, and they live, they should buy a lottery ticket.

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
Tom C. will be along to

Tom C. will be along to re-caption Rebecca's post, pre and post discovery of the video.

No need, this story speaks for it.

Some note - to the question: "When can a police office pull his gun?" Anytime he wants to.

He agrees with Young that he didn’t react — his confusion paralyzed him.

The moment of confusion that is the last second of life for many citizens.

Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston said he conducted an internal investigation and found that Young was justified in drawing his weapon.

The investigation! There was an investigation! Case closed!

“The real blame, if any, lies with the thief,” Woolston wrote to Coon after the finding.

And, since the poor citizen was not "repsonsive to police commands" the police officer then could have blown him away. Time and time again we have heard: "His fault, he didn't respond to commands. HE PUT THIS ON HIMSELF!"

Sanders, the criminal defense attorney, said he found that language offensive.

“The crook really wasn’t there and had nothing to do with this,” he said. And if Young “had shot and killed the guy, do you still blame the crook?”

And as far as undercover officers getting shot, that's actually not so unusual. Those fall into the catagory of "blue on blue" incidents, and there was a thread about those posted here at one time.

By the way, the clubs were sold to the pawn shop by a Jordan Ellis. I wonder if this is the same guy:

Alert neighbor allegedly catches Augusta burglar in the act

“When I read his complaint, I felt for him,” Young said. “But, you know, I have a family. I want to go home at the end of the day. I want to go home to my family.

Whether or not you have to blow away an innocent civilian or two in order to feel safe enough to do so.

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
I've taken the 100hr LEO

I've taken the 100hr LEO Reserve courses through MCJA. Things have changed drastically from when I took the class. I recently spoke with a Corrections Officer, who took the same class last month, and he came back saying they where preaching that the police, according to the Maine AG, didn't shoot enough statistically when drawing service weapons. This was after videos of Officers being shot to death for failing to act where show. Followed by the advise of some instructor telling the class to show up to work prepared to shoot someone or stay home because your a danger to other Officers if you can't shoot someone.

I offered this Officer my advise. You should protect yourself, but never think everyone is the enemy, everyone is a citizen first and you are to protect and serve. Remember your roll!

If such statistics are out there on service weapons being draw and not used, it's telling me how serious drawing a weapon is considered.

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
........"show up to work

........"show up to work prepared to shoot someone or stay home because your a danger to other Officers if you can't shoot someone".......

This attitude, unfortunately, is what comes from the increasing "militarization" of uniforms, weapons, tactics and mindset, and the "us against them" attitude created because of same.

Soldiers are trained to "kill the enemy" whereas civilian law enforcement is trained to maintain law and order, with killing only as a last resort. But as civilian law enforcement continues to increase looking, acting and thinking, like the military, this is the inevitable result.

......." in recent years we have witnessed a proliferation in incidents of excessive, military-style force by police S.W.A.T. teams, which often make national headlines due to their sheer brutality. Why has it become routine for police departments to deploy black-garbed, body-armored S.W.A.T. teams for routine domestic police work".........

........"The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the "men in blue" from "peace officer" to soldier. This development is absolutely critical and represents a fundamental change in the nature of law enforcement".........

[url=http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/how-the-war-on-terro... Story, explaining how all of this "increasing militarization" of civilian law enforcement has had a dangerous psychological impact on the entire civil law enforcement community. Look at events in LA recently, where officers opened fire on the wrong vehicles with no warning![/url]

Thanks Homeland Security!

WC

Roger Ek
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Joined: 11/18/2002 - 1:01am
In most counties in Maine

In most counties in Maine your sheriff is your friend. Do you know your sheriff?

Stephen Carmichael
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Joined: 06/19/2008 - 8:05pm
I agree Roger, but every

I agree Roger, but every Sheriff must send their Deputies off to be educated at the State mandated academy to learn all this post 911 propaganda.
The Dover-Foxcroft shooting comes to mindn. The Sheriff was walking out to end a standoff, he put all risks aside, and waked out in the open. However, the subject was shoot from 100 yards away by a Trooper.

Tom C
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Joined: 01/03/2006 - 6:00pm
However, the subject was

However, the subject was shoot from 100 yards away by a Trooper.

Actually, more like 160 yards.

And that's after he was banging away at 250 yards, sending rounds into the reverse of the perimeter being established, and people were screaming at him to stop.

We "waited for the investigation... "

We waited... we waited...

Investigation result: "Good shoot!"

Roger Ek
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Joined: 11/18/2002 - 1:01am
Back around 1988 I was the

Back around 1988 I was the training director for the Maine Professional Guides association. The legislature had decided that all guides had to have first aid and CPR in order to get or renew a license. I was a guide and I was an emergency medicine instructor. The guides had to do a massive training effort because some guides had to get this training fast. We got it done.

The IF&W sent a survey out to a selected group of guides to find out why their wardens had such a public relations problem. I replied that if they had not asked I never would have written the letter, but here goes. The old wardens didn't have a PR problem. It was the young wardens that had a problem. Augusta had done away with the warden academy. All the new wardens went through the State Police academy. And, oh by the way, they had a week or so at the end on the outdoors. I was told that 16 out of the 18 new wardens at the time did not know what a Conibear was, but I digress.

The new wardens came out with an attitude that sportsmen had never seen before. Most sportsmen have firearms with them and most fishermen are armed whether you happen to see it or not. It's concealed, you know. The IF&W PR problem came out of the State Police Academy. A high level IF&W staffer called me and thanked me for my letter. I don't remember the gent's name, but it's been a quarter century.

Gaffer
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Joined: 12/11/1999 - 1:01am
Your right Roger. Today the

Your right Roger. Today the citizenry is looked at as the enemy, as if all were law breakers and it is just a matter of time until they are caught. That permeates those who have gone through the SP Academy. The Warden Major who just passed with cancer had a big case of that attitude. At one Hunter Safety program I was involved with his attitude was shameful. It certainly creates a deep divide between sportsmen and IF&W's Warden Service.

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