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The Hartford Courant -

Lawsuit Claims Police Task Force Beat Suspect

Posted on May 08 2009

Glastonbury - Members of East Central Narcotics, also known as ECN, punched and kicked Rafael Morales of Hartford with such force, Morales, 50, sustained an "open-depressed skull fracture" two centimeters wide, said the attorney, A. Paul Spinella.

Spinella said he filed the lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Hartford. The suit asks for a trial, plus punitive and compensatory damages.

Early in the morning on Jan. 9, narcotics officers converged on a van in which Morales was a passenger in the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn in Glastonbury. At the time, police said in a press release that Morales collapsed as he stepped from the car and was found to have a head injury. He was brought to a hospital for treatment.

According to the lawsuit, the officers, who were planning an undercover drug purchase, surrounded the vehicle and took the driver into custody. Moments later, they began to remove Morales from the passenger seat when "one of more of them began to savagely beat him by punching and kicking him in his face and head." At least one of the officers admitted hitting Morales, it states.

Doctors had to perform a craniotomy to remove blood from Morales' brain, Spinella said.

"He had a hole in his head," Spinella said.

Morales, who Spinella describes as a Fordham University graduate and four-year Navy veteran, is now at the Hartford Correctional Center, Spinella said, but Spinella is requesting that he be moved to a place where he can get better medical care.

A state police investigation of the incident continues, said state police Sgt. Chris Johnson.

The Hartford Courant