SCARBOROUGH — Three weeks after being arrested and removed from a Town Council meeting, government critic Michael Doyle was back Wednesday, to serve what he called a “counter complaint.”
It’s unclear if Doyle followed the rules for legally serving a lawsuit, since he personally delivered the papers to the three defendants named in the papers: Councilor Shawn Babine, Sgt. Mary Pearson of the Scarborough Police Department, and the town of Scarborough.
The document, prepared without the aid of a lawyer, purports to be a Cumberland County District Court counter complaint to the criminal trespass charges faced by Doyle after his arrest at the Nov. 15 council meeting.
Doyle’s document says it relates to the “matter of State vs. Doyle, re: Criminal Trespass trial scheduled for Jan. 10.” It states four claims – for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution – and calls on the court to issue an injunction against the town for what Doyle calls “malicious prosecution and harassment.”
In the document, Doyle also argues the town violated his rights to free speech, as well as the freedom of the press. Doyle calls himself both the editor and lead reporter for the falmouthtoday.me website.
In addition, the document asks the court to impose compensatory and punitive monetary damages, although it doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount.
Although his bail conditions prohibit him from entering the Scarborough Municipal Building, Doyle was allowed to attend the Dec. 6 meeting because it was held at Wentworth School.
Pearson, who arrested Doyle Nov. 15, was present, although she left soon after Doyle handed his complaint to her, Babine and Town Manager Tom Hall.
Hall on Thursday said he did not believe Doyle’s service of the papers was legal, although he expected a lawsuit to eventually be filed.
He also did not know whether Doyle had filed his complaint with the Cumberland County Superior Court. The court clerk’s office refused to provide any information Thursday morning.
Doyle did not speak or elaborate on his lawsuit Wednesday, but as he usually does, used his phone to videotape the scene as he distributed the document.
Babine had the only comment, noting at the end of the meeting that Doyle’s assertion was an “interesting take” on what occurred Nov. 15.
Doyle, 69, is a frequent government critic who lives in Falmouth. He began the public comment period Nov. 15 by ridiculing the town’s bid for an Amazon headquarters at Scarborough Downs.
He then raised questions about what he called the suspicious circumstances under which Hall left his previous municipal government post in Rockland.
In his counter complaint, Doyle said he was complying with the rules for speaking at a public meeting when he was told to sit down, which he did “quietly,” while “softly mumbling a reference to the First Amendment.”
In the document, Doyle also said that he suffered physical harm during the arrest when Pearson “pinched a nerve in (Doyle’s) right hand causing damage that required medical treatment … because Pearson had only handcuffs for small people.”
This is not the first time that Doyle has attempted to sue the town.
In August 2015 he filed a complaint in federal court saying the town had violated his first amendment rights. That case was eventually dismissed.