PORTLAND — Jonathan Mitchell, the Veazie man shot by Portland police in April when he tried to escape in a car, pleaded guilty Monday to being a habitual offender after authorities agreed to drop three charges.

Attorneys for Mitchell, 30, have said their client plans to sue the department for excessive use of force.

Mitchell, who appeared in Cumberland County Superior Court, also pleaded guilty to failing to stop for an officer and refusing to submit to arrest. Two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon – the car – and a criminal trespass charge were dropped.

Mitchell’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

The incident occurred April 10 when police responded to a report that Mitchell had broken into his ex-wife’s home on Allen Avenue.

Police said they chased Mitchell as he drove down dead-end Fairfield Street and that officers Robert Miller and David Schertz approached him on foot after he was cornered. Mitchell sped away in his Volkswagen Jetta and Miller fired twice, hitting Mitchell in the neck and shoulder.

Mitchell escaped, but was arrested a short time later at a friend’s apartment.

Attorneys for Mitchell have said the officers were not in the car’s path when Miller fired. They have said they plan to sue the police department for excessive use of force.

J.P. DeGrinney, Mitchell’s court-appointed attorney in the criminal case, declined to comment on Monday’s proceeding.

Tamara Getchell, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said she did not have enough information to comment Monday.

Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mitchell’s attorneys and his family created a website that includes video from a police cruiser camera to bolster their position.

Mitchell’s parents, Roger and Kim Mitchell, said in a video interview posted on the site that he should have stopped for police but should not have been shot.

They said the shooting left their son with permanent health problems, including difficulty swallowing.

The website – portlandpolicebrutality.com – was deactivated last month.


Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]