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Charges dropped against man in police assault case

Published August 21. 2014 4:00AM

Enfield (AP)- A state judge has dismissed charges against a man who alleges Enfield police beat him up before arresting him on a bogus claim that he assaulted an officer.

Enfield Superior Court Judge Howard Scheinblum dropped charges against Mark Maher, 25, of Windsor, on Tuesday, at the request of Maher's lawyer.

Maher was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest April 1 at the Enfield boat launch, where he said he was hanging out with friends and not doing anything wrong. Police had said they were investigating possible illegal drug and alcohol use, while Maher said he was just smoking a cigarette.

A police cruiser video shows three police officers forcing Maher to the ground and Officer Matthew Worden punching him as he was pinned down. Maher doesn't appear to be resisting arrest or assaulting police. Maher's booking photo shows him with a serious injury to his right eye area.

"I expected them to dismiss the charges, and I'm glad that they did," Maher said after the court appearance Tuesday. "I was brutalized by the Enfield police. ... I didn't assault an officer. I was assaulted."

Worden remains on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation. Maher, meanwhile, has filed a brutality complaint with the police department and is planning a lawsuit.

Enfield police prepared a warrant for Worden's arrest on misdemeanor charges of assault and fabricating evidence. Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy rejected the warrant, saying prosecutors couldn't prove the charges. The arrest warrant application said Worden unnecessarily punched Maher four times and Worden submitted a misleading report.

Maher and three other men have notified the town that they intend to sue the police department on allegations that Worden used excessive force in separate incidents, the Journal Inquirer reported. There also have been other citizen complaints against him.

Worden couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. A phone listing for him couldn't be found.

Worden submitted a report saying he only punched Maher twice in the shoulder because officers were trying to control and handcuff him.

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