LVD News

BANGOR, Maine — The family of a Bangor man who died after being subdued by Bangor police using a stun gun has settled a lawsuit against the department for $525,000, according to information filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Phillip McCue, 28, died at Eastern Maine Medical Center on Sept. 17, 2012, five days after Bangor police attempted to arrest him at an apartment building on First Street. The autopsy concluded that McCue died as a result of complications from overdosing on bath salts.

His father, Michael McCue of Jackson, filed an eight-count, $6.65 million wrongful death lawsuit in March 2014.

“The family is pleased that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved,” the father’s attorney, David Van Dyke of Lewiston, said Wednesday by email.

The defendants in the lawsuit, who were officers when the incident took place, were Kim Donnell, Wade Betters, Joshua Kuhn, David Farrar and Chris Blanchard.

“We are pleased that this matter has been resolved,” Bangor Police Chief Mark Hathaway said Wednesday in a statement. “A resolution is in the best interest of all.

“We understand the grief of the McCue family and again extend our sympathy,” he continued. “The Bangor police officers involved in this matter appropriately utilized established procedures in their interaction with Mr. McCue and this settlement in no way suggests that their actions caused Mr. McCue’s death.”

A jury trial was scheduled for July in federal court in Bangor on whether the officers reasonably should have known that Phillip McCue had stopped resisting arrest and that the forced they used after he ceased resisting was excessive.

It could not be determined how the settlement in McCue’s case compares with settlements in other excessive force cases because they are not tracked by one organization in Maine and are categorized under the umbrella of civil rights cases in federal court. While excessive force cases most often are filed in federal court, they also can be handled in state court.

One of the most recent settlements in a Maine excessive force case that resulted in a death was reached in February 2014. The state agreed to pay $225,000 to the relatives of a Sangerville man who was fatally shot by a state trooper.

Michael Scott Curtis, 46, left his Sangerville home after an argument with his wife on Nov. 29, 2011, and went to Hilltop Manor in Dover-Foxcroft, where his wife’s ex-husband, Udo Schneider, was working, according to authorities. Curtis shot Schneider, 53, to death and then traveled to the Piscataquis County Fairgrounds, where he was killed by Trooper Jon Brown.

The attorney general’s office concluded in July 2012 that Brown was justified in using deadly force.

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