FARMINGTON — The family of a man who was fatally shot by a Farmington Police officer five years ago has settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the officer, according to a notice filed with the U.S. District Court in Portland.

Justin Crowley-Smilek, 28, a U.S. Army veteran with mental and physical problems, was shot and killed by officer Ryan Rosie after confronting Rosie with a knife outside the Farmington Police Department in November 2011.

According to the court notice filed on Friday, the parties reached a mutual settlement in the case and have 30 days to finalize an agreement and have the case dismissed from court.

Both attorney Douglas Louison of Boston, who represented Rosie, and Hunter Tzovarras of Hampden, who represented Crowley-Smilek’s parents, did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Crowley-Smilek’s parents, Ruth Crowley and Michael Smilek, had filed suit against Rosie, the town of Farmington and Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck in 2013, claiming their son had come to the police station in mental distress seeking help and that Rosie used excessive force against him. Crowley and Smilek charged that Rosie had insufficient training and panicked when their son confronted him.

On Sept. 30, a federal judge dismissed the charges against the town and Peck and some of the charges against Rosie, but two excessive force charges were still expected to proceed to trial.


The family had alleged the use of excessive force, a violation of Maine civil rights and wrongful death statutes in the death of Crowley-Smilek, who was shot and killed by Rosie the morning of Nov. 19, 2011.

Police, in justifying the use of deadly force, have said Crowley-Smilek had a knife and acted in a threatening way toward Rosie by chasing the officer, ignoring his commands and repeatedly telling him, “You better kill me.”

Attornies for the police and the town argued that Rosie’s use of force should be protected by the doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which shields police officers from suits if an officer “reasonably, but mistakenly, believed that a suspect was likely to fight back,” in which case “the officer would be justified in using more force than in fact was needed.”

Crowley-Smilek took from his jacket pocket a 13-inch-long knife and chased Rosie around a police cruiser before the officer stepped aside and shot the man. Rosie had radioed for backup when Crowley-Smilek started chasing him.

The Office of the Maine Attorney General in 2012 found that Rosie was justified in shooting Crowley-Smilek.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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