Enfield police have fired an officer who was accused of using excessive force while making an arrest in April.
Officer Matthew Worden was terminated Friday morning after "a thorough, comprehensive and exhaustive investigation" into his conduct, according to Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza.
Worden was placed on paid administrative leave while the police department conducted an internal investigation into the events of April 1, when Warden arrested Mark-Andrew Maher, of Windsor, after another officer caught Maher after hours at the River Street boat launch with three others.
Maher was charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with an officer, but the criminal charges against him were later dropped.
Days after he was arrested, Maher filed a police brutality complaint against “three or four” unnamed officers whom he claimed assaulted him while taking him into custody, according to the state's attorney.
The incident was captured on police cruiser dashcam video.
Connecticut State's Attorney Gail Hardy investigated the case using the cruiser video, Worden's incident report, two additional case reports April 1 and April 5, Maher's medical records and his police brutality complaint.
According to Hardy’s memo to the police chief, 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.
Enfield police tried to bring criminal charges against Worden following the incident, but prosecutors declined to sign the arrest warrant application.
Hardy concluded that Worden might have violated the police department’s “use of force” policy but did not break the law.
Police released a statement on Friday saying Captain Golden, Captain Hall and Deputy Chief Collins reviewed the investigation report and its conclusions and agreed with the final decision.
"I reviewed their recommendation as well and agreed with the findings and made my recommendation to the Public Safety Director Christopher Bromson," Sferrazza said in a statement. "Director Bromson made the decision to discharge Officer Worden based on these recommendations of the entire command staff as well as the investigative report itself."