The father of a Bangor man who drowned after falling into a frozen stream while fleeing from police in March has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city’s police department and four of its officers.

According to a complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Gary Manuel alleges that his son, Peter Manuel, 22, had been subjected to a “pattern of harassment” by Bangor police for years.

Peter Manuel drowned after falling into a frozen stream while fleeing from police in March.

“This pattern of harassment culminated on March 2, 2018 at (approximately) 1 a.m. … at or near the Half Acre Nightclub on Harlow Street and at or near Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor, and without probable cause, Bangor police officers … did chase Peter Manuel into the Kenduskeag Stream, at which time Peter Manuel did drown, and all of which resulted in his death,” the complaint says.

The suit lists as defendants the Bangor Police Department and officers Jason McAmbley, Thomas Valente, Elizabeth Brunton and Sam McCarty.

The department had not filed a response as of Friday and a spokesman did not return a call for comment.

Gary Manuel is representing himself in the suit and appeared to draft the complaint as well, which required a $400 filing fee.


According to stories published in the Bangor Daily news, Manuel was involved in a fight in the parking lot of the Harlow Street nightclub early that morning. The previous year, he had been charged with violating a criminal trespass order and was due in court soon to face that charge. When police tried to talk to him, he ran.

Police said he dashed behind a building, jumped a fence and went down an embankment toward the Kenduskeag Stream, which runs north to south through Bangor and merges with the Penobscot River.

Police saw Manuel at the bottom near the water and said they tossed him rescue lines to help him climb up. Manuel, police said, refused their help and instead jumped into the stream.

From there, police could see Manual sitting on a piece of ice in the stream but still he refused to come to shore. He disappeared under the water shortly afterward and didn’t resurface.

Police and fire officials, along with members of Maine Marine Patrol, continued to search for several days.

Manuel’s body wasn’t found until June, by a boater near the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge in Bangor. It took nearly a month for Manuel to be identified by the medical examiner.


According to the Bangor Daily News, Manuel had attended Bangor High School and was a member of the track and cross-country teams.

Peter Manuel lived at the Shaw House, a youth homeless shelter in Bangor, for at least part of his childhood.

Gary Manuel, in the complaint, alleged that his son and the entire Manuel family were mistreated by state and local officials for years because they lived in poverty. The 23-page complaint says that the Manuels were surrounded by “fictitious people, state informants,” who entrapped and coerced their son into criminal behavior. It also alleges that the family was denied state welfare benefits and was directly prohibited from finding and securing housing.

No one answered the phone Friday at the number listed for Gary Manuel in the court documents.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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