SKOWHEGAN — A Skowhegan man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to assaulting a Skowhegan police officer, arguing that he was having an epileptic seizure at the time and was not fighting back.

Noah Goodridge, 20, is charged with simple assault following the June 12 incident involving Skowhegan police Officer Ryan Blakeney.

Goodridge’s father, Paul Goodridge, filed a complaint against the officer in June alleging that he failed to recognize that his son was having an epileptic seizure at the time, but instead mistakenly thought his son was under the influence of drugs. The incident occurred outside the NAPA auto parts store in downtown Skowhegan, where Noah Goodridge had gone to fill out an employment application, Paul Goodridge said.

“I talked to the DA and he said something in the report about ‘pseudo seizures,’ ” Paul Goodridge said, implying that the seizures were not real.

“That was wrong. It’s wrong,” Noah Goodridge added outside the courthouse Wednesday. “I am not guilty.”

Paul Goodridge said his son has a documented history of epileptic seizures, with dozens of hospital visits on his medical record.

“They should have sent the ambulance, not the cops, in the first place,” he wrote in the complaint. “Officer Blakeney evidently thought my son was on narcotics and arrested him and brought him to the hospital.”

Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam said Blakeney is a drug recognition expert, certified through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the National Department of Highway Safety, and “recognized signs associated with individuals under the influence of drugs.”

Bucknam said in June that police officers are first responders, not emergency medical technicians, and that the symptoms displayed by Noah Goodridge “were not conducive to what an average person would consider seizure.”

Paul Goodridge said the problem is that police officers are not trained to recognize epileptic seizures. He said he wants additional training for officers and wants Blakeney “to be reprimanded and be held accountable for his actions in the wrongful arrest of my son, Noah.”

In his affidavit in support of probable cause for Noah Goodridge’s arrest, Blakeney wrote that he responded to a report of a medical emergency at the NAPA store at 4:19 p.m. June 12 and found Goodridge standing against a truck in the parking lot. He said the young man did not acknowledge his questions appropriately and “appeared to be under the influence of something.”

Blakeney said that when Goodridge attempted to walk past him, he positioned himself in front of him.

The officer wrote that Goodridge “reached out and grabbed me on top of my shoulders.” Blakeney said he pushed Goodridge’s hands away and told him not to touch him again.

Blakeney wrote that Goodridge grabbed him again by the shoulders, whereupon Blakeney used a police academy “arm bar” technique to bring him to the ground, where he was handcuffed.

Paul Goodridge said he wants to get a new lawyer to defend the assault charge, and to press charges against Blakeney. He said body camera footage from the police officer shows what really happened.

“I just filled out the paperwork for a court-appointed lawyer, but I’m getting ready to talk to (a lawyer) right now … in Portland,” he said. “… I should get a lawyer from out of town because it’s a conflict of interest – to try to go after the Police Department that these lawyers live in town with. I don’t trust them here because of the fact that they live here, they work with the Police Department, they work with the jailhouse

A dispositional hearing in the case is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21 in Skowhegan. A trial date would be scheduled for February if the case goes that far.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

filed under: