AUGUSTA — As legislators prepare to re-elect Attorney General Aaron Frey to that office, a veteran outgoing state representative is sharply criticizing Frey for his failure to follow through on a promise to provide justice to the family of a young man shot to death by a Waldoboro police officer in 2007.

Most local legislators have not responded to a request by The Courier-Gazette to comment on the Attorney General’s handling of the case.

Attorney General Aaron Frey

New legislators will be sworn in to two-year terms on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the State House. One of the first actions will be electing Constitutional officers such as Attorney General for two-year stints. Frey is seeking to remain in his post.

But outgoing State Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, an independent from Friendship, is offering sharp criticism of Frey.

“Three and a half years ago on June 9, 2019, you held Natalie Jackson’s hands in front of multiple eyewitnesses in the State House and promised justice for her son Gregori in the unjustified police shooting of an unarmed boy, which included an execution shot to the back of his head,” Evangelos said. “We are still waiting for this justice. Your procrastination in this case of manslaughter/murder has become the hallmark of your administration of the Attorney General’s Office.”

In June 2020, the attorney general issued a statement: “To reopen this matter is a careful deliberative process involving experienced homicide prosecutors and we are prioritizing the completion of this review over other matters.”

Frey said in June 2020 this was “a case with several complicated factors, including consideration of whether or not the state can disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Attorney General on Jan. 8, 2022 said his office’s review of the shooting would be issued “soon.”

Frey has not commented on the issue in the past 11 months and has not responded to email requests for an update.

The Sept. 23, 2007 shooting occurred after a traffic stop on Friendship Road in Waldoboro. Then-reserve Waldoboro Officer Zachary Curtis determined Jackson, a passenger in the car, violated bail conditions on prior operating under the influence and failure to stop for an officer charges, police said. The alleged violation was that Jackson had been drinking.

When Curtis tried to arrest Jackson, the youth resisted and the officer pepper-sprayed him. Jackson ran down the road and then into the woods, pursued by Curtis.

The officer claimed Jackson resisted arrest and claimed the teen struck Curtis with a log.

Curtis further claimed Jackson got on top of him, was trying to choke him and then put his hand on the officer’s gun.

The AG’s Office, then under Attorney General Steven Rowe, issued a statement Nov. 30, 2007 saying its investigation found the shooting justified. There has never been a police shooting in Maine that was declared unjustified by the AG’s office.

District Attorney Natasha Irving said at a June 2020 news conference with Evangelos and the Jackson family that she would file murder charges if the AG’s office did not act. The AG’s office has maintained that only they have the power to file murder charges in Maine.

Irving also said in June 2020 she would be seeking whistle blower protection so the Maine Attorney General’s Office does not interfere with her prosecution or retaliate against her office.

Since then, Irving has not initiated prosecution, acknowledging that homicide prosecutions are in the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s Office.

Natalie Jackson said she and her husband had been offered a meeting with Frey back in December 2021 to be updated on the investigation but Frey refused to meet after they insisted state Rep. Charlotte Warren and a reporter for the Portland Press Herald also be allowed to attend the meeting.

Jackson said she was upset when after refusing to meet, the attorney general gave an interview to the same reporter and put his spin on the investigation.

Evangelos said Maine has never held a police officer accountable for a shooting, even when the victim is unarmed.

“The score is 188-0, all justified. It is a shameful legacy, now your legacy, and as I told you last spring in hearings, ‘Zero is an operative number; it means justice is impossible in Maine.’ You can’t get to zero unless there is a conscious effort of obstruction of justice and a violation of the civil rights of the people you serve. Our criminal justice system is collapsing at your feet, Mr. Attorney General. I’m going to the Justice Department concerning this collapse,” Evangelos stated Friday, Dec. 2.

The Courier-Gazette sent emails to local legislators and legislators-elect on Dec. 2 asking them whether they had any concerns about Frey’s handling of the Jackson case.

Rep. William Pluecker, an independent from Warren, said, “I would love to see the AG’s office handle Gregori Jackson’s case differently. The pain which the shooting inflicted on his family and community is undeniable and ongoing. The facts as I understand them certainly warrant a thorough examination by the AG’s office. I hope that whomever is elected to the position responds to the anguish this shooting has brought to our community. ”

Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, said Monday, Dec. 5 she was flying back from vacation and had not been able to respond.

Incoming Rep. Clinton Collamore, D-Waldoboro, asked for time to review the matter before commenting.

Other legislators — incoming state Sen. Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center, D-Rockland; Rep. Valli Geiger, D-Rockland; and Rep. Ann Matlack, D-St. George — did not respond by Tuesday morning, Dec. 6.