The Maine Department of Safety has raised eyebrows with their recent handling of information regarding the tragic Lewiston mass murder. On October 25, 2023, Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist, opened fire at Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar and Grille, resulting in the deaths of 18 innocent people and injuring more than a dozen others. This horrific event stands as the deadliest shooting in Maine’s history.

 

In the aftermath of this tragic event, the actions of the Maine DPS have come under scrutiny. Shortly after releasing a comprehensive collection of documents related to the incident, the department abruptly took down the link to the “Lewiston Reports”, citing “technical difficulties“. This sudden and unexplained removal has fueled public suspicion, with some questioning the timing and motives behind this move. They claim the website will be reactivated by 5 p.m. Monday, June 10. This action came shortly after the comprehensive collection of documents related to the incident was released. One must wonder what prompted such a swift removal of access to crucial information.

 

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Among another release of documents earlier this year, there are disturbing implications of the “yellow flag laws” being used to shift blame onto the Sheriff’s Department. These laws, which are often criticized for infringing on due process, appear to be a tool to pin the failure to prevent this tragedy on local law enforcement. The report by the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston, dated March 15, 2024, unfairly suggests that Sgt. Aaron Skolfield of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office had probable cause to initiate the yellow flag process in September 2023.

 

Sgt. Skolfield, however, refutes this in his response, highlighting critical flaws in the Commission’s findings. According to Sgt. Skolfield, Maine State law requires a face-to-face interaction with the subject to initiate the yellow flag process, which was not feasible without Mr. Card’s cooperation. Furthermore, the timeline presented by the Commission was inaccurate and misleading, suggesting that Sgt. Skolfield had more time and information than he actually did. Read the entire 20 page response from Sgt. Skolfield below:

Response of Sgt. Aaron Skol… by Maine Trust For Local News

It appears Sgt. Skolfield knows his stuff, as  Maine’s “yellow flag” law mandates that law enforcement officers must directly interact with an individual to start the process. This face-to-face contact is essential to place the person into protective custody, which is a required step before proceeding with any further actions, such as conducting a medical evaluation to potentially confiscate their firearms. Without this in-person interaction, officers cannot move forward with obtaining the necessary medical opinion and court order to restrict the individual’s access to weapons.  Robert Card’s actions were driven by a delusional belief that people were speaking ill of him behind his back at both shooting locations. This paranoia culminated in his heinous actions and, ultimately, his suicide two days later.

The documents allegedly include investigative reports from state police and other assisting law enforcement agencies. The site also promises that state police will continue to add additional documents and information to the website as they become available. Given the current circumstances, one must question whether this promise will be fulfilled or if it’s merely a tactic to placate public concern.

A request for comment by RVM staff to Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, remained unanswered as of the time of this article.

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