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Video Shows Enfield Officer Striking Man During Arrest

A newly-released dash-cam video from an Enfield police cruiser shows three officers taking down a Windsor man and Officer Matthew Worden striking him at least three times while the unarmed man was on the ground with the other officers on top of him.

Two police videos of the incident, including one that shows Worden hitting Mark Maher, may be played in Superior Court in Enfield Tuesday as Maher tries to get charges of interfering with a police officer thrown out. The second cruiser video recorded the conversation between Worden and Maher. Both videos, which The Courant obtained from one of Maher's attorneys, may be presented as evidence that Maher should not have been arrested.

Maher has alleged police brutality against Worden and the other Enfield officers who responded to the town's boat launch on April 1 where Maher, friend Leonard Hill and two women were hanging out drinking.

Last month, Maher filed a notice of intent to sue the town. Since then, two other people have filed notices of intent to sue, claiming Worden roughed them up in separate, unrelated incidents.

Worden, a 10-year veteran of the force, is on paid administrative leave while an internal affairs investigation of the Maher incident is conducted. Last month, Enfield police submitted a seven-page arrest warrant to Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy, seeking to charge Worden with third-degree assault.

But Hardy declined to sign it after reviewing the videos, concluding Worden's conduct seemed to be "aimed at an attempt to restrain Maher who was resisting officers' attempts to handcuff him, rather than an intention to inflict physical harm."

The two videos, taken from the dash-cams of the first two cruisers that responded to the boat launch, show the incident from different angles. On one of the videos, taken from Officer Jaime Yott's car, the conversation between Maher and Worden before the takedown occurs is audible.

Worden is seen frisking Hill, who is handcuffed against Maher's car, when he stops and walks over to Maher to ask why he is smoking. As Worden starts frisking him, Maher can be heard yelling that he has a right to smoke because he is outside.

"If you want to arrest me, arrest me. Do what you gotta do," Maher said repeatedly.

Referring to Hill, Maher then asks Worden, "What did he ever do to you?"

At that point Worden turns Maher around and yells, "Don't ... with me" and tries to handcuff him. Yott and another officer, Michael Emons, join Worden and help take Maher to the ground. Worden then can be seen adjusting the glove on his right hand before firing two punches into Maher's face. Worden is the only officer wearing gloves in the video.

After a few more seconds, when Maher tries to raise his head, Worden strikes him at least once more while the other officers hold him down. An officer can be heard yelling, "Stop resisting, stop resisting." Maher is heard yelling "ow."

Worden also is seen placing both of his knees into Maher's back as Maher is on the ground. Maher does not appear to be trying to get back up.

In his incident report, Worden wrote that he struck Maher in the shoulder and that one punch may have hit Maher's face because Maher was thrashing on the ground. Worden also reported that Maher was "actively fighting" with Worden, which is why he threw the punches.

While Maher was being struck, Hill can be heard constantly yelling "Mark, relax," until Emons walks over to Hill, who is handcuffed, and shoves his head into the hood of the car.

With a knee still on Maher's back, Worden can be heard calling in the arrest for interfering with a police officer and telling the dispatcher one suspect has a "minor injury to his left cheek."

EMTs arrived at the boat launch and took Maher to the hospital after he was taken to the police station. He was treated and released from the hospital. The booking photo from that night shows Maher's face scratched up and his right eye badly bruised and almost closed.

Worden has been the subject of 14 internal affairs investigations since 2007, the majority over complaints and claims that he was rude or discourteous.

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