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Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Enfield Police

In Police Brutality Case
By Dave Altimari and Mikaela Porter
Published: March 25, 2015

The Windsor man whose brutality complaint eventually led to the firing of Enfield police officer Matthew Worden has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the police department.

Mark Maher was arrested by Worden and two other officers last April at the town boat launch. The dash cam video from one of the cruisers showed another officer taking a handcuffed Maher to the ground and Worden jumping on him and punching him in the face several times.

Maher suffered facial injuries and filed a complaint against Worden with the police department. His complaint was the 14th against Worden since 2007, police records show.

Maher was arrested for resisting arrest but the charges were later dropped in state court. Enfield police eventually submitted a seven-page arrest warrant charging Worden with third-degree assault and tampering with evidence but Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy declined to sign it, concluding that while "Worden's actions may have violated police department regulations, they didn't rise to the level of a criminal prosecution."

Worden was fired by the Enfield City Council in October.

Maher's lawsuit, filed earlier this week, alleges that Worden and at least two other officers, Jamie Yott and Michael Emons, violated Maher's civil rights when they arrested him on April 1, 2014. Maher and three friends were parked at the boat launch when officers arrived.

They first placed one of the other people, Leonard Hill, in handcuffs, but when Maher and Hill didn't stop yelling to each other Worden took Maher down to the ground and with the other officers helping to restrain him face down on the ground punched him twice, the lawsuit alleges. Then took a break and punched him two more times before kneeing him in the back, it says.

Maher was arrested and brought to the police station before being taken to a local hospital for treatment.

"The brutality in this case is clearly depicted on videotape," Attorney A. Paul Spinella said.

Spinella said the Maher lawsuit is the sixth he has filed against the department alleging brutality against Worden and other officers.

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant