The Hartford state’s attorney has thrown out an arrest warrant for Officer Matthew Worden of the Enfield Police Department, who was accused of using force while arresting a man in April.
The warrant would have charged Worden with third-degree assault and falsifying or tampering with evidence. Enfield police filed the application July 10 and Hartford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy denied it six days later, according to a memo from Hardy to Enfield Police Chief Carl J. Sferrazza.
Worden arrested Mark-Andrew Maher, of Windsor, the night of April 1 after another officer spotted Maher at the River Street boat launch with three other people after hours, according to the memo.
Maher was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with an officer. Days later, he filed a police brutality complaint against “three or four” unnamed officers who he claimed assaulted him while taking him into custody, the memo says.
The state’s attorney investigated using video from the police cruiser, the incident report Worden prepared for Maher’s arrest, two additional case reports dated April 1 and April 5, medical records for Maher and his police brutality complaint, according to the memo.
According to Hardy’s memo, Worden arrived that night with a police dog and helped detain the suspects after another man was seen furtively passing an object to Maher. A search of Maher’s pockets turned up several items, including a box cutter.
A scuffle broke out and officers put Maher on the ground in an attempt to restrain him. Dashboard video from a police cruiser parked at the scene shows Maher twisting his body and resisting the officers. Worden is seen punching Maher at least twice while trying to handcuff him, according to the memo.
“It is worth nothing that, at no time, are all four civilians together in one place, where officers could have them, and their hands, clearly in view, for officers [sic] safety,” the memo says.
It goes on to explain that “Worden’s conduct seemed to be aimed at an attempt to restrain Maher who was resisting officers [sic] attempts to handcuff him, rather than an intention to inflict physical injury.”
Hardy concludes that Worden may have violated the police department’s “use of force” policy but did not break the law.