alleging excessive force used in arrest
By: Annemarie A. Smith Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, May 22, 2015 10:30 pm
ENFIELD — A Maine man has filed a lawsuit against the town, Police Chief Carl Sferrazza, and four police officers, including former Officer Matthew Worden, saying Worden used excessive force during a 2013 arrest.
The lawsuit is the seventh filed against the embattled Worden.
Hartford lawyer Paul Spinella, who represents Zachary Trowbridge, 25, filed the lawsuit on May 7 in U.S. District Court. Trowbridge is suing for monetary and punitive damages of at least $15,000.
The lawsuit names, in addition to Worden, Officers Brian Croteau and Vanessa Magagnoli and Sgt. John Carney as defendants.
Worden was fired on Oct. 3 following a lengthy internal affairs investigation into his conduct during the 2014 arrest of Mark Maher of Windsor. A recent agreement between Worden and the town, however, allowed Worden's separation with the town to be reclassified as a resignation rather than a firing.
Officer Jamie Yott and Officer Michael Emons received 60- and 90-day suspensions, respectively, for their roles in Maher's arrest.
After Maher came forward with his accusations against Worden, many other similar cases surfaced against the officer. According to Trowbridge’s lawsuit, he was unjustly attacked by Worden’s police dog during an arrest, despite the fact that Trowbridge surrendered himself to police.
The lawsuit states that the four officers arrived at Trowbridge’s former residence on Main Street in Somers on Aug. 31, 2013, to serve Trowbridge with a warrant for failure to appear in court.
The lawsuit says that Croteau and Magagnoli knocked on Trowbridge’s door, while Worden and Carney placed themselves at the back of Trowbridge’s residence.
When Trowbridge heard the knock, the lawsuit continues, he exited through the back door of his home with his brother and girlfriend, but when he saw the two officers he stopped and raised his hands.
Despite this, the lawsuit says, Worden commanded his police dog to attack Trowbridge, and the dog bit his right leg. No other officers attempted to help Trowbridge, and he was not transported to a hospital until after police had taken photographs of his wounds at the police station, the lawsuit says.
In addition to the bite wound, Trowbridge suffered from numerous physical injuries, including but not limited to cuts, bruises, and abrasions, according to the lawsuit.
Furthermore, the lawsuit says, Trowbridge continues to suffer from “mental anguish and psychological trauma.” Sferrazza declined comment on the incident or the lawsuit.
Spinella and Elliot Spector, who represents Worden on behalf of the town’s insurance company, were not available for comment