A Pittsfield man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he repeatedly “head-butted and sucker punched” a police officer who had responded to a report of a disturbance involving at least five people on Washington Street in Pittsfield, according to police.

Michael J. Antonino, 40, was charged with assault on a police officer and taken to Somerset County Jail, according to Pittsfield police Chief Pete Bickmore.

“They got a call at 3:46 p.m. for a disturbance at 160 Washington St. and police Officer Michael Cray responded,” Bickmore said in a telephone interview. “While he was en route, dispatchers told him at least five people were fighting. When Officer Cray arrived, he engaged Antonino and Antonino assaulted him by sucker punching him multiple times and head-butting him.”

Cray, who was the only Pittsfield officer on shift, called for backup and the Maine State Police, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and Clinton Police Department responded, according to Bickmore, who said Cray received minor lacerations and was treated by Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital Rescue.

Bickmore said his department typically has only one officer per shift.

“That’s our allocation for our budget right now,” he said.


Asked if it is safe to have only one officer on a shift responding to such an incident, Bickmore said, “Absolutely it’s an officer safety issue, and there should always be two officers responding on a call like that.”

“Even though we get backup from state police and the Sheriff’s Office, you don’t know where they are,” he said. “They could be minutes away or they could be 20 minutes away or longer, and the first few minutes are critical. This is the second incident in less than 24 hours where Pittsfield police officers have been assaulted.”

Bickmore was referring to a robbery Saturday night in which a woman who had been arrested kicked and bit two Pittsfield officers and a Somerset County Sheriff’s corrections officer.

Bickmore said his department has dealt with Antonino in the past, but could not provide details of those incidents.

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