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Eighth Civil Lawsuit

Names Former Enfield Police Officer
By Mikaela Porter and Dave Altimari

ENFIELD — Another civil lawsuit has been filed against the town, the police department and several police officers, including former Officer Matthew Worden.

The suit, filed by Eric Avalos of Hartford, cites an incident at a Holiday Inn in 2014. In addition to the town and police chief, it names Worden and Officers Brian Croteau, Michael Emons, Matthew Burzdak and Eric Horan, alleging that the officers were involved in an arrest in which Worden used excessive force.

Seventh Civil Lawsuit Names Former Enfield Police Officer Avalos and his brother were asked to leave the Holiday Inn in Enfield about 8 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2014, the night of Avalos' niece's 16th birthday party, according to the lawsuit. Hotel staff said they were being too loud, the suit said. As he and members of his family were leaving, Worden arrived and asked to see his ID, the suit said.

Worden, in his report of the incident, said that Avalos "became belligerent." According to the lawsuit, Avalos "attempted to comply, but as he reached for his identification in his pocket, Officer Worden suddenly and without provocation sprung forward and forcefully grabbed Avalos' arm, twisting it behind his back and causing Avalos severe pain."

Worden used a Taser on Avalos several times, once when standing up and several times while on the ground, allegedly while he was placed in handcuffs, the lawsuit said.

Worden threatened Avalos' mother, who was walking with a cane, while another officer threatened Avalos' family and attempted to usher them from the scene, the lawsuit said. Avalos' brother was tackled and handcuffed by another officer while he was attempting to take video of the arrest, the suit said.

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Enfield Police In Brutality Case Worden's attorney, Elliot Spector, said the case would be "aggressively litigated." Police Chief Carl Sferrazza could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

According to police documents, Avalos was charged with interfering with an officer, resisting arrest, second-degree breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass.

Avalos' lawsuit is the eighth filed against the town, the police department, Worden and other officers.

The police department attempted to obtain an arrest warrant for Worden last July regarding his actions in the April 1, 2014, arrest of Mark Maher of Windsor. The arrest warrant application was rejected by the Hartford state's attorney, but the town fired Worden in October, citing his actions during that arrest. Worden was accused of using excessive force during Maher's arrest.

In February, Worden's departure from the town's employ was changed to a resignation, and he received $10,000 as part of a settlement with the town, police department and police union.

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