The residence on South Belfast Avenue in Augusta on Nov. 24, 2019, where Augusta Police Officer Sabastian Guptill shot Robert Farrington. The 31-year-old has sued Augusta and Fairfield police and the Somerset County dispatch center over the incident. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — A man shot and injured by an Augusta police officer inside his home in 2019 has sued Augusta police, its chief and the officer who shot him, as well as Fairfield Police and the Somerset County Regional Communications Center for their involvement in the incident.

Robert Farrington, 31, claims in the lawsuit filed in federal court that his constitutional rights were violated when police entered his property in the middle of the night to arrest him without a legitimate warrant, and then used deadly force.

Robert Farrington Photo courtesy of Kennebec County Correctional Facility

“In the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 2019, Plaintiff Robert Farrington lived through an experience that was as traumatic as anything he had seen during his two tours of duty in Afghanistan,” states the lawsuit filed by his attorneys, Kristine Hanly and Alexis Chardon of Garmey Law. “That night, he was asleep in his home when his terrified fiancée awakened him to report that someone was banging on their door and appeared to be in their backyard.”

The lawsuit states Farrington, an honorably discharged Marine veteran, told his fiancée to call 911 and grabbed “his lawfully-owned weapon” while he went to see what was going on.

“Approaching a sliding glass door, Mr. Farrington pointed his weapon downward in the safety position and turned on the light,” it states. “He then placed the weapon on a table so that he could reach down and open the sliding glass door. Just then, a person on the other side of the door yelled, ‘He’s got a gun!’ and began shooting at him.

“At least one bullet struck him … He ducked and rolled away from the shooter in agonizing pain, but the shooter kept going until twelve rounds were fired,” the lawsuit continues. “Unbeknownst to Mr. Farrington, his assailant was not a burglar but a member of the Augusta Police Department, and the nightmare he had experienced was the culmination of a series of grave intrusions into his constitutional rights.”


Kasia Park, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum who is representing the Augusta Police Department, Chief Jared Mills, Officer Sabastian Guptill and Sgt. Traci Tori, said Farrington’s lawsuit neglects to include facts from the incident which she said will come to light during litigation and vindicate her clients. Susan Weidner is also representing the city workers.

“The allegation in the complaint that the defendants somehow conspired to violate Mr. Farrington’s constitutional rights is preposterous,” Park said. “Officer Guptill used deadly force against Mr. Farrington because he believed his life was in danger and that he would be shot and killed if he did not use deadly force.”

The Office of the Maine Attorney General concluded that Guptill was acting in self-defense when he shot and wounded Farrington in his South Belfast Avenue home. The office’s report concluded Guptill was justified in using deadly force to protect himself because Robert Farrington was raising a handgun at him.

However a review of the incident by the Maine Deadly Force Review Panel — created in 2019 to examine these cases and determine whether best practices were followed, and then make recommendations — found that none of the three uniformed Augusta officers responding identified themselves as police prior to knocking on the doors and windows of Farrington’s home. The panel’s review indicated officers should have taken steps to clearly identify themselves as police officers when they first knocked on the home’s door.

The federal lawsuit states Farrington’s gunshot wounds from the incident have required surgery to attempt to repair damage to his hip and back and years of treatment. He still suffers from agonizing pain, requires a cane to walk and is unable to work as he has been deemed permanently disabled, according to the lawsuit. It states the experience also severely exacerbated Farrington’s combat-induced PTSD.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for all damages it alleges were done to Farrington, as well as punitive damages, interest, costs and attorney fees.


The lawsuit also names Fairfield Police, its chief Thomas Gould and officer Dakota Willhoite as defendants. A lawyer who, according to court documents appeared to be representing them, did not return an email seeking comment.

Officer Sabastian Guptill Contributed photo by Augusta Police Department

The lawsuit alleges Willhoite, just past 11 p.m. Nov 23, 2019, took an in-person report from a woman claiming Farrington had committed domestic violence assault against her in Fairfield. Believing Farrington had returned home to his residence in Augusta, Willhoite and another officer decided to use Somerset County dispatch to enter a “temporary felony want,” which the lawsuit says is otherwise known as a “temporary warrant” into the National Crime Information Center.

The lawsuit states such a “warrant” does not conform with the constitutional requirements of the Fourth Amendment nor follow Maine’s statutory requirements that a warrant only be issued in response to a properly sworn affidavit, or based on probable cause that an individual has committed a crime. The lawsuit states the Fairfield officers knew they were not investigating a felony, based on the allegations against Farrington, but rather a misdemeanor, but they nonetheless forwarded Farrington’s name to Somerset County dispatch as a “temporary felony want.” Willhoite, the lawsuit states, contacted Augusta police and reported there had been a “temporary warrant” issued for Farrington and asked them to arrest him, leading to the confrontation and shooting in Augusta.

Michael Lichtenstein and Peter Marchesi, attorneys with Wheeler and Arey representing Somerset County Regional Communications Center and its director, Mike Smith, filed a response to the lawsuit, claiming the lawsuit fails to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted, that Farrington’s damages were directly caused by the acts or omissions of individuals or entities other than the dispatch center, and Smith and the county are entitled to immunity.

When released from the hospital, Farrington was arrested by Augusta police on an outstanding warrant from Fairfield Police alleging domestic violence assault and cruelty to animals. And he was charged, due to the confrontation with Augusta police that ended in him being shot, with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, which was later dismissed.

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL by Maine Trust For Local News on Scribd


An internal investigation of the incident by Augusta police resulted in no corrective actions. Guptill, who was placed on paid administrative leave after he shot Farrington, returned to work in January 2020.

Guptill was also one of two officers involved in the October 2021 shooting death of Dustin J. Paradis, 34, at the Bread of Life Shelter in Augusta.

A review of that shooting by the state Attorney General’s office also concluded Guptill and Sgt. Christopher Blodgett were acting in defense of themselves or others when they shot and killed Paradis, an autistic man who had rushed toward them with a knife and told the officers to kill him.

For as long as the state Attorney General’s Office has reviewed officer-involved shooting cases, the investigations have always found officers acted in defense of themselves or others.

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