A DVD showing a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent engaged in behavior Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith called “disturbing” shows the agent identifying himself by name, firing weapons, and encouraging at least one other person to swig alcohol at a party.
The Bangor Daily News obtained a copy of the DVD on Thursday after filing a Maine Freedom of Access request with Smith.
Late last week, Smith sent out a memo to his staff members instructing them not to cooperate with MDEA investigations. When interviewed about the memo, Smith said the DVD showed the agent engaged in possibly illegal behavior and said he did not want the DVD to reflect poorly on his department.
Anne Jordan, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, indicated Wednesday in a prepared statement that she reviewed the DVD with Deputy Attorney General William Stokes. She said that though the antics on the DVD are “juvenile,” she and Stokes determined there was no criminal activity captured on the recording. Jordan’s department oversees MDEA.
The video recording on the DVD, titled “Once Upon A Summer” and made by Suicide King Productions, is approximately an hour long and consists of a montage of video clips that were filmed about two years ago. One of them indicates it was filmed at a party on New Year’s Eve at the end of 2005.
Most of the clips show people who appear to be in their 20s, including the MDEA agent, drinking or clowning around for the camera or both. A lot of it is set to hard rock or hip-hop music. The agent is in many of the scenes but not all.
Some scenes show other people – not the agent – vomiting after apparently drinking to excess, but in one scene he helps hold up what looks like a bottle of liquor as a woman takes a swig directly from it. Another shows him firing a pistol from his hip in a yard outside a house. Some people – it is not clear who they are – show their bare buttocks to the camera, and much of the dialogue on the DVD is sexually suggestive.
The scene that Smith seemed to object to the most when he described the DVD’s contents starts out with the agent sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle and talking to the camera. The agent holds up a glass mug that says “police officer” on it and then holds up his MDEA badge for the camera. The mug appears to be half full of beer.
“This is a public safety announcement from Maine Drug Enforcement,” he tells the camera. “Drink responsibly.”
The agent then gulps down the mug’s contents and starts up the engine of the vehicle. It seems to move forward several feet, based on the view out the back window of the cab.
“We’re moving,” he says, and then burps.
According to Jordan, MDEA officials learned of the DVD in the summer of 2006 and disciplined the agent at the time. She did not say what the discipline was or identify the agent by name, but she did indicate that he works both for MDEA and the Pleasant Point Police Department.
Smith, who also declined to identify the agent by name, said earlier this week that the DVD had been circulating in Washington County for some time and at least three local defense attorneys had told him they had watched it. He said he had not seen the DVD until someone recently sent it to him anonymously through the mail.
Smith rescinded his noncooperation order Wednesday after talking with Jordan. The two agreed to have their departments work together going forward and that Smith would meet with Jordan in Augusta on March 14 to discuss law enforcement issues in Washington County.