A Riverview Psychiatric Center outpatient shot three times by an Augusta police officer on Jan. 12, 2015, in an effort to stop him from stabbing himself and threatening others, is now suing that officer and the city of Augusta, seeking $2.5 million in damages.

The civil lawsuit by Jason Begin, 37, who is now back in the state’s psychiatric hospital in Augusta, says his civil rights were violated when he was shot and that he did not give Augusta police Officer Laura Drouin permission to shoot him.

The complaint, filed Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court in Bangor by attorneys Bradford Pattershall and Matthew Bowe, says Drouin was acting in her capacity as a law enforcement officer for the city at the time.

Last month, the state attorney general ruled that Drouin was defending her life and others’ lives when she shot Begin, who was angry at the prospect of returning to the hospital after he had been allowed to live in the community.

And on Thursday, attorney Edward Benjamin Jr., who represents both Drouin and the city, pointed to the attorney general’s report exonerating Drouin in her use of deadly force. Benjamin said he had just received a copy of the complaint and had not yet met with his clients in the matter.

An internal investigation by Augusta police indicated Drouin followed correct procedure, and she was returned to duty in February 2015. She had been placed on paid leave after the shooting.

Begin had been taken to the Riverview outpatient team’s offices on Jan. 12, 2015, and questioned about an accusation by another person that Begin had provided him marijuana and had used marijuana himself, according to the lawsuit.

It says Begin referred to his many “clean” drug tests while he had been living in the community and that he offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was telling the truth.

It also says Begin was scheduled to report to his job at 1 p.m. that day, and the treatment team said he could go to work, but that the members of the team planned to search his room at the apartment building.

At that point, Begin said he wanted to be present for the search.

It says team members kept Begin waiting for two hours while they conferred among themselves in a different room and then decided to return Begin to Riverview.

They called for an Augusta police officer to drive Begin to Riverview, located about a mile away from the Ballard Center, where the treatment team had its offices. Drouin responded and waited in a hallway out of sight of Begin.

Begin objected to being returned to the hospital, telling the treatment team, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” the lawsuit says, and then saying “I’m not going back to the hospital.”

At that point, Begin had been living outside Riverview for about a year.

When he was told a police officer was to take him back, the lawsuit says, “Mr. Begin took a pocket knife out of one of his pockets, stated, ‘I should have done this moons ago,’ and cut himself on his left bicep.”

The attorney general’s report says Begin slashed his own arm and threatened to stab others in the room.

“Mr. Begin was armed with a concealed folding knife at the meeting,” investigators wrote. “He said it was his intention to kill himself with the knife if the team decided to send him back to Riverview.”

However, the lawsuit maintains that Begin did not say anything to threaten anyone and did not move aggressively toward Drouin or treatment team members after pulling out his knife.

It says, “Approximately five seconds after he cut himself with his pocket knife, Officer Drouin fired three shots at Mr. Begin with her duty handgun, a .40 cailber Glock Model 23.”

Begin was struck three times. The lawsuit said one bullet punctured a lung, one hit his left shoulder and another his lower left chest, shattering ribs. The complaint says he suffered permanent injuries, including partial paralysis and scarring as well as emotional distress.

It says neither Drouin nor anyone else told Begin to drop his knife or to stop.

The attorney general’s report contradicts that, saying Drouin drew her weapon and shouted for Begin to stop, but he refused. That report describes the knife as an “ExtremeOps” folding knife measuring 7 1/4 inches overall with a 3 1/8-inch blade.

“As the team members retreated from the room, Officer Drouin advanced toward Mr. Begin after having been summoned by the team members at the room’s threshold,” investigators wrote. “She saw Mr. Begin stand, retrieve the knife from his pocket, and slash his own arm as various team members tried to escape the room past her.”

Drouin handcuffed Begin after the shooting and he was taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, and remained there until Feb. 27, 2015.

The complaint says Drouin’s shooting “was an excessive use of force” and she should have known she was violating his rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments. It also charges her with negligence and battery, saying, “Mr. Begin did not consent to being shot by Officer Drouin,” and “Officer Drouin intended to cause harmful or offensive contact to Mr. Begin.” It also says the city is liable for her actions.

Begin was committed to Riverview in the spring of 2004 after he was found not criminally responsible in Androscoggin County for stealing an airplane there and crashing in Canada in what he described an “elaborate suicide attempt” because he was facing charges of gross sexual assault involving family members.

Riverview records show that Begin tried to hang himself in a bathroom there November 2011 and that police were brought in to intervene a month later when he “was verbally threatening to harm others and was posturing aggressively.”

Begin remained a patient at Riverview until the fall of 2013, when a court order authorized him to enter an outpatient program that allowed him to live in a group home in the community. The court required Begin to attend regular sex offender and alcohol counseling and prohibited him from using alcohol or unlawful drugs.

The hospital’s report also indicates Begin slashed himself in both of his arms during the confrontation with the treatment team and Drouin.

A month ago, a judge rejected Begin’s bid to be discharged from state supervision but gave him an opportunity to regain some privileges Begin lost as a result of the incident that led to him being shot. The judge said Begin’s petition to live permanently in the community lacked support from both the hospital and from the State Forensic Service, which evaluates defendants for the court.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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