Maine Man Sues After House Blown Up in Police Standoff

A Maine man whose house was blown up by police during a 20-hour standoff is filing a lawsuit, asking for millions in damages and a change to state law.

In June 2018, police went to Michael Grendell's home in Dixmont, where he was hostile to them while experiencing a psychotic episode.

The standoff began when Grendell shot at his neighbor and best friend.

Police said Grendell fired a gun at them when they used a vehicle to break a window of his home.

Officers also shot at Grendell and eventually determined they should use an explosive to chase him out.

But the explosive took down the entire home.

This week, lawyers Larry Willey, Ezra Willey and David Bate filed what Larry Willey calls, "a multimillion dollar lawsuit" accusing the Maine State Police of using "excessive force" in destroying Grendell's home.

"Breaching a wall didn't happen here, they blew up the house," said Willey. "They should've waited."

The suit says the police knew Grendell was experiencing severe mental illness and that, although he had fired at police, even raising weapons like a baseball bat at them after the explosion, police were still wrong to detonate the explosive and subsequently shoot Grendell in the face.

"He's alive, but he's got some big injuries and his medical bills are in excess of half a million dollars," said Willey. "Our expert says they should have taken him into protective custody, and we wouldn't be here today if they had."

Willey says intermediate steps could have included using tear gas on Grendell or waiting for a special team en route to the standoff scene from New Hampshire to arrive to negotiate with Grendell.

Instead, Willey says that team was told their services weren't needed only after they were within 12 miles of Dixmont.

Grendell was ultimately given a suspended prison sentence. He is still recuperating from his injuries.

Willey says he will have reconstructive surgery on his face at some point and his client is no longer in a psychotic state.

Instead, Grendell has asked his attorneys to urge Maine lawmakers to make it harder for police to use explosives in the manner they did.

"There's always plenty of time to get a warrant," said Willey. "We've suggested it be it be a [filed] by a Maine supreme court justice."

Maine's attorney general's office is handling the case for the state.

A spokesman for the office declined to comment on the litigation.

Grendell's attorneys say they hope the matter can be settled without going to trial but if there is one, it will be next year.

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