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Report of the Attorney General on the Use of Deadly Force by Hampden Police Sergeant on June 9, 2013 in Hampden
October 11, 2013
During the late evening of Sunday, June 9, 2013, Cameron Arrigoni, 21, of Hampden, was shot and killed by Sgt. Christian Bailey of the Hampden Police Department during an armed confrontation in Mr. Arrigoni’s residence on Main Road South in Hampden.
During the evening of June 9, 2013, Cameron Arrigoni and his girlfriend were at their home on Main Road South in Hampden. Mr. Arrigoni had been drinking heavily. He told his girlfriend that he intended to kill himself. He retrieved a handgun from his car parked next to the residence. When the girlfriend threatened to take the gun from him, Mr. Arrigoni alternately pointed the gun at the girlfriend and at his own head. At about 9:15 P.M., the girlfriend called 911, but hung up when Mr. Arrigoni told her he would have no choice but to kill himself. When the 911 dispatcher called back in response to the hang-up call, Mr. Arrigoni took the girlfriend’s cellular phone away from her and threw it into a hallway. Follow-up calls from the 911 dispatcher went unanswered. In the meantime, the girlfriend retrieved the phone and took it with her to a second floor bedroom. After locking herself in the room, she answered a follow-up call from 911. Mr. Arrigoni followed her to the second floor and, while the girlfriend was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, Mr. Arrigoni forced open a locked door, entered the bedroom, and disconnected the call.
Sgt. Christian Bailey and Officer William Miller of the Hampden Police Department were dispatched in response to the first 911 call from the girlfriend. While outside the residence, both officers were told by the 911 dispatcher that Mr. Arrigoni was attempting to break down the door to the second floor bedroom, and that the dispatcher was telling the girlfriend to escape the residence through a window. Officer Miller, closer to the house at that point, could hear sounds consistent with the report from the dispatcher that Mr. Arrigoni was attempting to break down the bedroom door. Officer Miller radioed his observations in this regard to Sgt. Bailey, and both officers, with Sgt. Bailey in the lead, entered the residence. As they ascended the steep and narrow stairwell to the second floor of the residence, they heard Mr. Arrigoni shouting, “You just killed me, you just killed me!” This statement by Mr. Arrigoni was later determined to be an admonishment to his girlfriend when he entered the bedroom and learned that she was on the phone with the police. Just previous to this statement, the 911 dispatcher heard Mr. Arrigoni asking the girlfriend if she was on the phone with the police. When she responded that she was, Mr. Arrigoni disconnected the call.
Once at the top of the stairs, Sgt. Bailey noted the broken bedroom door and yelled “Police!” as he crossed the threshold of the room. Mr. Arrigoni, who was standing next to the girlfriend at the foot of the bed in the small bedroom, turned toward Sgt. Bailey and pointed a handgun – later determined to be a loaded .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol – directly at Sgt. Bailey. Sgt. Bailey fired two rounds from his .45 caliber service weapon at Mr. Arrigoni, who was struck by the gunfire and fell to the floor. Mr. Arrigoni was transported to a Bangor hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A later postmortem examination and autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta determined that Mr. Arrigoni died as a result of gunshot wounds to the head and upper torso. It was also determined that his blood-alcohol content at the time of his death was 0.183%, and that there was a moderate level of THC (active ingredient of marijuana) in his system.
Detectives from the Office of the Attorney General went to the scene in Hampden to conduct an investigation. They were assisted by several members of the State Police, including evidence technicians and detectives.
Analysis and Conclusion The Attorney General is charged by law with investigating any law enforcement officer who uses deadly force while acting in the performance of the officer's duties. The sole purpose of the Attorney General’s investigation in this matter was to determine whether self-defense or the defense of others, as defined by law, was reasonably generated by the facts so as to preclude criminal prosecution. The review did not include an analysis of potential civil liability, whether any administrative action is warranted, or whether the use of deadly force could have been averted. Under Maine law, for any person, including a law enforcement officer, to be justified in using deadly force in self-defense or the defense of others, two requirements must be met. First, the person must actually and reasonably believe that deadly force is imminently threatened against the person or someone else, and, second, the person must actually and reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to counter that imminent threat.
Whether a use of force is reasonable is based on the totality of the particular circumstances, and must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, allowing for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. The analysis requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of a particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others, and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
Attorney General Janet T. Mills has concluded that at the time Sgt. Bailey fired his weapon at Mr. Arrigoni, Sgt. Bailey actually and reasonably believed that deadly force was imminently threatened against him, and that it was reasonable for Sgt. Bailey to believe it necessary to use deadly force to protect himself from the imminent threat of deadly force by Mr. Arrigoni.