Bangor, ME – A suspect who allegedly shot at police after initiating a 20-hour standoff has filed a $120 million federal lawsuit against the state, alleging that Maine State Police (MSP) interfered with his rights and discriminated against him.
Michael Grendell, 62, claimed the MSP used excessive force by bombing his home and shooting him in the torso and face after authorities say he shot at officers and then refused to drop his firearm after he emerged from the residence, the Bangor Daily News reported.
“No reasonable officer or supervisor could have concluded that robot/bombing Michael Grendell’s home and person and then shooting him in his further disabled state, were in any way constitutionally or legally justified,” the lawsuit read.
The suit alleged that the MSP’s conduct “was so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all bounds of decency and it must be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” according to the Bangor Daily News.
The standoff began on June 29, 2018, after a neighbor called police to report that Grendell was suffering from a mental health issue and had fired a gun at him the previous day.
The neighbor said he wanted to notify police about what occurred because he didn’t want officers to shoot Grendell when they came into contact with him, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Officers responded to Grendell’s home and used an intercom system to request that he come outside, the lawsuit said.
He momentarily stepped out of the home, then said that the officers were not “the real police” and retreated back into his house, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Grendell later stepped outside holding a gun and a dog by its leash.
Later on, he shot towards officers, hitting a police vehicle and a police robot, according to WMTW.
MSP used the robot to detonate an explosive device with the intent of knocking down a wall, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Instead, the explosion caused the home to collapse.
The 20-hour standoff ended after Grendell emerged from the wreckage and continued advancing on police with a firearm, resulting in police opening fire.
He was shot in the torso and face, and was hospitalized for two months, according to the lawsuit.
In October of 2018, Grendell pleaded no contest to criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, the Bangor Daily News reported.
In exchange for his plea, an attempted murder charge was dismissed, according to the Associated Press.
Grendell was given credit for the time he spent in the hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds, and was also given credit for the 38 days he spent at a state psychiatric hospital.
The rest of his three-year prison sentence was suspended, followed by a four-year probation sentence, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The lawsuit alleged that police failed to obtain a warrant to detonate the device, and argued that they should have waited for a specialized team to arrive to handle the situation, WABI reported.
“This is probably one of the most complicated excessive force cases I’ve ever had,” one of Grendell’s attorneys, Laurence Willey, told the Bangor Daily News.
The lawsuit requested that the state be required to pay for Grendell’s medical expenses, attorney fees, and lost wages and earning capacity.
He has also claimed that police assaulted him, and demanded compensation for the alleged violation of his constitutional rights.
According to the lawsuit, police should have known that Grendell “was suffering from severe mental health issues,” the Bangor Daily News reported.
He has since been diagnosed with a depressive disorder with psychotic features, according to the Associated Press.
Officers also allegedly discriminated against him because his mental illness is a disability, the lawsuit alleged.
“He would really like to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,” his attorney, David Bate, told the Maine Public.