An Independent Commission to Determine the Facts

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

In last week’s radio address, I talked to you about my plan to create a fully independent commission to determine the facts surrounding the tragedy in Lewiston on October 25th, including the time that led up to that tragedy and the police response to it. This is so we can begin the long road to healing. 

Earlier this week, Attorney General Aaron Frey and I announced the formal creation of that Independent Commission and we named its membership, a group of experts who bring extensive legal, investigative, and mental health backgrounds that will help bring to light the facts behind this tragedy for all of us to know and to understand.

The seven experts on the Independent Commission are a former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, a former Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court; a former Chief Forensic Psychologist for the State; a former United States Attorney for the State of Maine, a former Assistant United States Attorney in private practice now; a former Maine District Court Judge who also served as District Attorney, and a physician with psychiatric expertise in responding to crises like mass shootings. 

Each of these individuals is each highly respected for their abilities, their expertise, their impartiality, their integrity, and fair mindedness – qualities that will be fundamental to the discharge of their duties. 

In our letter to the members of the Independent Commission, Attorney General Frey and I asked them to determine the full and complete scope of their work and request any resources and any additional investigative powers that they deem necessary to complete that work. 

Above all else, Attorney General Frey and I have asked the Independent Commission to follow the facts, wherever they may lead, and to do so in an independent and objective manner, biased by no one and guided only by the pursuit of truth. 

We also asked the Independent Commission to issue a formal public report detailing their findings upon the conclusion of their investigation. The families of the victims, and those who were injured, and the people of Maine and the nation deserve to know the complete facts and circumstances, including any failures or omissions, that led to the tragedy in Lewiston.

Knowing the full truth is not a quick and easy thing, but the formation of this Independent Commission is an important step as we begin the long process of healing. 

My Administration will continue to do everything we can to make sure that the families of the victims, and those who are recovering, and those struggling in Lewiston and throughout the state, are fully supported during this difficult time.

Starting on Monday, November 13th, the Maine Resiliency Center at 184 Main Street in Lewiston will open to welcome anyone impacted by this tragedy. The Center will be open from noon to five p.m. each weekday and it will be staffed with knowledgeable and caring professionals who can help you find services to meet your needs.

Please remember if you need support, you can text or call 9-8-8 for free and confidential mental health advice and counseling, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  

This is Governor Janet Mills – please keep the faith, stay strong—and thank you for listening.