Nearly $800,000 paid to settle police brutality lawsuits

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Newly released documents show nearly $800,000 was paid to settle lawsuits filed against the Enfield Police Department and former officer Matthew Worden, who was accused in several brutality cases.

The Hartford Courant reports 10 lawsuits were settled for a total of $792,500. All lawsuits involving Worden have now been settled.

The newspaper reported Friday that Windsor resident Mark Maher received $250,000. Worden can be seen in dashcam video punching Maher at least three times while detaining him in 2014.

Zachary Trowbridge sued the town after he said Worden’s police dog bit him when he was leaving his home with his arms raised as police served a 2013 arrest warrant. Trowbridge, who now lives in Maine, received $27,500.

Barbara Crowley, received $125,000 after she said she was injured as Worden detained her outside the Mount Carmel Society in 2011.

Town Attorney Christopher Bromson said Aime Olschafskie will receive $140,000. Olschafskie filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the estate of her son, Tyler Damato.

Worden and other Enfield officers were accused of smashing Damato’s head into asphalt and shooting him with a stun gun on Christmas Day 2012.

Damato was 20 when he died the following February after a car accident. His mother blames the officers for his death, saying they aggravated a traumatic brain injury he previously suffered.

Town officials publicized the final settlement after nearly 15 months in which officials maintained that those figures should not be made public.

The newspaper reports that the town paid $25,000 per settlement — a total of $225,000 — to its former insurance carrier CIRMA. CIRMA covered the remaining balance of the lawsuit settlements to the recipients.

Attorney Paul Spinella, who represented all 10 people who sued the police department, said that “the town itself acted responsibly to get these cases behind them and my hope is this will bring about structural changes in the department especially with a new administration coming in.”

Worden, who is now an emergency medical technician, was fired in 2014, but the firing was changed to a resignation after he appealed.