Earlier this month, police in Enfield , Connecticut wanted to arrest Matthew Worden, one of their own cops, on charges of assault and fabricating evidence related to the violent arrest of a suspect in April. Their arrest warrant was rejected by the state's attorney in Hartford, Gail Hardy, because there were "many moving parts" in video captured of the arrest.
This week, the Hartford Courant, which has run several stories about this incident in the last month, ran an editorial calling on the chief state's attorney to re-examine the case, pointing to the number of civilian complaints filed against the officer in the last seven years. The editorial begins:
Enfield police officer Matthew Worden has lived on the edge.
He has been the subject of 14 civilian complaints in the last seven years, The Courant recently reported, with allegations ranging from rudeness and discourteous conduct to excessive force and racial profiling. He was the object of about a third of the 26 complaints against the nearly 100-officer department in the last four years, half of the six filed in 2013.
But other than one suspension of 60 days, after he got into a fight with a fellow officer in 2007 during a domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend, none of the complaints stuck and Mr. Worden's career has progressed without interruption.
The newspaper argues that it usually ought to be "difficult to prosecute police officers for on-duty actions" but in this case, especially considering the department's interest in arrest and prosecution, it ought to be easier. The editorial suggests cops should generally "get the benefit of the doubt," but that after seven years of misconduct Worden should not get that.
Worden remains on paid leave as the department is still conducting its internal affairs investigation into the April beating.