Police on the scene at Summit Terrace apartments where police shot and killed a man on Aug. 25, 2023. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Maine’s attorney general has determined that a South Portland police officer was justified in fatally shooting a man whom he said pointed a rifle toward him, but it will not release body camera footage that details the confrontation.

Officer Anthony Verville reasonably believed that he was acting in defense of himself and others around him when he fired multiple shots at Christafer Dodge, 47, outside a South Portland apartment complex early in the morning on Aug. 25, 2023, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

The shooting was captured by body cameras worn by Verville and fellow officer Akos Szekeley, according to the report. But the office denied a public records requests for the footage Friday afternoon, saying releasing the video “would constitute an unwarranted invasion” of the Dodge family’s privacy.

The family asked that the video not be shared, according to the denial. Members of Dodge’s family did not respond to messages asking to discuss Dodge or what happened on the morning of the shooting.

The decision not to release at least a partially redacted version of the footage is out of step with how many states handle footage of police shootings, said Sigmund Schutz, an attorney who represents the Press Herald in First Amendment matters.

“Whether the officers were completely justified and did everything by the book or whether there was misconduct, the only way to tell is to get access to the footage,” he said. “The net result is ‘trust me’ – and that’s not a very good answer in a democratic society.”


The attorney general’s office has never found an officer-involved shooting in Maine to be unjustified.


South Portland police received complaints of gunshots at Summit Terrace at 4:11 a.m. on Aug. 25, according to the letter detailing the attorney general’s finding. Dodge’s wife told a dispatcher that Dodge “was not feeling right in the head,” had pushed her, and had collected a gun and fired a shot.

The dispatcher could hear Dodge in the background of the call sounding “very agitated,” according to the letter.

Police on the scene at Summit Terrace apartments in August. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

When Verville and Szekely arrived at the apartment, Dodge’s wife told them that he had already driven off with his AR-style rifle. She said she thought he had been drinking and ingesting cocaine.

Police found casings from three shots they believed Dodge had fired in the home before he left.


The officers were still at the apartment when Dodge sped back into the complex’s parking lot at about 4:20 a.m., according to the report. Both drew their guns, identified themselves as police and told Dodge to get out of the truck.

Verville pointed his rifle’s flashlight at Dodge in the driver’s seat and saw him raise his own rifle toward the officers, the letter says. Verville later told investigators that he feared for his life, Szekely’s life, and the lives of Dodge’s wife and another woman in the apartment. He shot Dodge multiple times, killing him.

Police found Dodge’s AR-15-style rifle with an attached sight, magazine and 22 cartridges next to him in his truck, according to the letter.


A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to questions Friday afternoon about whether the agency had a specific policy for determining when to release footage depicting officer involved shootings.

In October 2021, Attorney General Aaron Frey told WGME the state was moving toward releasing body cam video within days or weeks of police shootings.


“The public and you and others are going to be seeing this video more frequently and very soon,” he said.

But the office’s responses to public records requests has so far varied from case to case. It released partial video of the shooting of Kyle Desmarais less than a week after his shootout with Portland officers on Interstate 295. But it has not yet fulfilled a request last month for footage of Nicholas Goodwin’s shooting in York in November.

While Maine’s public records law contains an exception for records that would constitute an invasion of privacy, Schutz said he thought the public interest in maximizing transparency around police shootings should outweigh privacy concerns in this case. He said the attorney general’s office likely could have pixelated or blurred sensitive parts of the footage rather than withholding it altogether.

“The victim’s family doesn’t have a veto on the public’s right to know,” he said. “We have a right to see what these officers did and how they did it.”

Verville was placed on administrative leave pending the AG’s investigation, which is standard procedure in all police shootings. He has not been involved in any other officer-involved shootings since he joined the department in 2017, South Portland police said at the time.

He has returned to work since the shooting, South Portland police confirmed Friday.

Dodge had no criminal history in Maine, according to the State Bureau of Identification.

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