Enfield, Conn. - Police officers in Enfield, Connecticut were ready to arrest one of their own. On April 1st, Officer Matthew Worden brutally assaulted a suspect when Worden claimed the suspect was resisting arrest. However, Worden’s story does not match the injuries or the video that recorded the incident.
Worden told Lt. Lawrence Curtis that he hit the suspect, Mark Maher, twice in the shoulder because he was “tensing his arm” and “clenching his fists” during a pat down on the hood of the cruiser. Worden claimed he punched Maher’s upper right arm “to disrupt the nerves and incapacitate the muscles so the arms could be controlled.”
In the 7-page arrest warrant that attempted to charge Worden with third-degree assault and fabricating evidence, the actions of Worden were deemed “neither necessary nor needed.” The application goes on to to state that the video does not show Maher resisting arrest, but rather shows Worden throwing Maher to the ground and adjusting his glove before delivering more punches.
“We conducted our own criminal investigation and reviewed all of the statements and evidence and believed we had probable cause to submit an arrest warrant,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said.
In the rejection letter, sent late last week, state’s attorney Gail Hardy said the video “depicts many moving parts where it is extremely difficult to keep up with everything that is going on with all parties.” The letter also stated that although the actions of Worden violated the police department rules, the actions did not elevate to criminal level.
This is not the first time Worden has had the spotlight on him. According to the Hartford Courant: Enfield, a department with nearly 100 sworn officers, has had 26 civilian complaints in the past four years. One-third of those were against Worden, records show. In 2013, Worden had half of the six citizen’s complaints against the department.
Worden has had complaints ranging from being rude at traffic stops, racial profiling, ordering a dog to attack a person Worden mistook for a burglar and once was suspended for getting into a fist fight with a fellow officer during a domestic dispute with Worden’s then-girlfriend. Worden was arrested but the charges were dropped.
Maher was charged with resisting arrest.