A Biddeford man has filed a notice of claim against the city of Westbrook in response to an altercation with city police Sgt. John Desjardins last week.

Michael Waxman, the attorney for Brian McMahon, confirmed Wednesday that he had sent the notice to Westbrook on Tuesday. The notice says Desjardins pushed McMahon through a glass window on St. Patrick’s Day.

“What happened to my client was wrong and we’re going to make sure, by one way or another, that it’s made right,” Waxman said.

A notice of claim is the required first step prior to any lawsuit filed against a public entity.

Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts, who maintains that Desjardins was acting in self-defense, said Tuesday that the police department is conducting its own investigation into last week’s incident.

According to a Biddeford police dispatch report, Desjardins was involved in a physical altercation with McMahon, the manager of Head Lines Barbershop & Salon, on Main Street in Biddeford, at around 6:30 p.m. on March 17. Desjardins drew his gun on McMahon and pushed him through the barbershop’s storefront window, according to the Biddeford report.

Roberts said Tuesday that Biddeford police submitted the case to the York County District Attorney’s Office, but confirmed Westbrook’s own probe.

“We have initiated an internal investigation into the incident, not because there is evidence Sgt. Desjardins acted in any violation of law or policy, but more to have a parallel investigation to either support or refute the circumstances as he presents them, and protect himself if needed,” she said.

However, she said Wednesday she was not yet aware of the notice of claim against the department, stating that it would be early given that the investigation is still open.

Michelle Mecteaux, Westbrook’s administrative aide, said Wednesday that the city had not yet received a notice of claim.

Joanne Fisk, Biddeford’s deputy chief of police, confirmed Tuesday that the investigation is still “open.” Fisk said immediately following the incident Desjardins came to Biddeford police to give a statement.

“We also received a call within seconds of that from the barbershop manager, stating he has just had a gun pulled on him and was thrown through the window of the shop,” she said.

According to Fisk, McMahon also reported that the individual “said he was a cop” and “the argument was over a parking space.”

According to a statement from Roberts, Desjardins was headed to dinner with his wife and a friend.

“As he was parking his car, a male unknown to him aggressively approached the front passenger door of the car, screaming obscenities, and trying to open the car door. Sgt. Desjardins, fearing for the safety of his wife who was sitting in the front passenger seat and not sure what the male’s intentions were, drew his weapon and verbally ordered the male to move away from the car,” Roberts said.

Roberts said that once the male stepped back, but continued to yell, Desjardins put his gun away, got out of the car, approached the male, and identified himself as a police officer.

“The male continued to be verbally confrontational and aggressive in the manner that he was standing very close to Sgt. Desjardins. Still in a defensive mode, the sergeant pushed the male backwards in attempt to create space between the two. The male stumbled backward, into the storefront window,” she said.

Roberts said Desjardins remains on active duty.

McMahon has a lengthy criminal record, including theft charges in Westbrook in 2013.

Fisk said she has reviewed surveillance footage from a camera at nearby City Hall, which is part of the investigation. She said the reports have been forwarded to the district attorney’s office, which could bring forward criminal charges.


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