July 30, 2014

“Connecticut Police Department Tries to Arrest One of Its Own For Brutality, State’s Attorney Says Nope, Too Complicated”

Is it possible to appreciate law enforcement while noting far too many of its members are allowed to get away with rogue behavior? Or perhaps better put, is rogue behavior itself becoming normalized within law enforcement, at least to the extent that law enforcement is able to protect its own? The Courant:

According to the arrest warrant application, Worden told [Lt. Lawrence] Curtis that he hit [suspect Mark] Maher twice in the shoulder area because he was resisting arrest and that Maher was “tensing his arm” and “clenching his fists” while Worden was patting him down on the hood of a cruiser.

Worden told Curtis that he delivered two closed fist punches aimed at Maher’s upper right arm “to disrupt the nerves and incapacitate the muscles so the arms could be controlled.” Worden said Maher was thrashing on the ground after officers took him down and that “this thrashing caused one of the punches to hit Maher in the right side of his forehead above the eye,” the application states.

The application states Curtis concluded that the video did not show Maher resisting arrest and that at one point it shows Worden, while Maher is on the ground with one arm pinned behind him, stopping to adjust the glove on his right hand before delivering two of the four punches he threw.

In her letter rejecting the arrest warrant [state’s attorney Gail] Hardy said the video “depicts many moving parts where it is extremely difficult to keep up with everything that is going on with all parties.”

(h/t Reason, which notes that “Hardy was appointed state’s attorney for Hartford in 2007 after working for the state’s Division of Criminal Justice for 11 years. She is the chief law enforcement officer for the judicial district of Hartford.”)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:59am

Comments (10)

  1. Regarding the first paragraph of this post, there have been several good articles penned recently about the militarization in equipment and attitude in American law enforcement. It is a very troubling thing. Having said that, it is hard not to have some sympathy for those doing the job in light of the ever increasing criminalization of American life, and the revolving door justice meted out to for real criminal acts.

    It must be soul crushing to arrest the same car thief ten times in a year only to have him released in days for the tenth time, the system having done nothing to meaningfully trouble the miscreant, and then have to arrest a mother for letting her daughter play in the park while she works at a near by minimum wage job, resulting in total devastation of her world, her daughter taken, job lost, and facing likely months in jail and a police record that will make it hard to even find a minimum wage job.

    It’s like the justice system is self selecting for authoritarian bullies no man with any decency could stomach.

  2. The interesting follow-on question is this: who’s career in law enforcement has been more damaged by this investigation, Wolden’s or Curtis’s?

  3. To our disgust, we can guess whose career in law enforcement emerges all the more assured, putting the stamp on an end to justice — namely, Hardy’s.

  4. …and then have to arrest a mother for letting her daughter play in the park while she works at a nearby minimum wage job…

    No cop has to arrest a mother for letting her kids play outside. Some of them choose to do so, which is really the heart of the current argument.

    For what it’s worth, a social worker sees the same group of dead-enders ruining their lives week in and week out, but you seldom hear of a social worker beating the shit out of those they’re supposed to serve. A preacher sees the same members of his flock sinning against their fellow neighbors and God, and yet you never see one bashing some parishioner’s head in with an altarpiece. What is it about “protective services” that drives so many to acts of brutality and abuse of power?

    A cop of my acquaintance takes great umbrage in my constant criticism of his profession and his brother officers. I keep telling him that I accord him and his “brothers” exactly the amount of respect they deserve, and that if he’d like to be held in higher esteem, he should probably work harder to drum out the vicious and the corrupt from his ranks. He thinks I’ll change my mind when it comes time that I need to call on him, to which I ask how much longer I’ll need to wait for him to track down the people who broke into my house in 2005, and again in 2011.

    (He really took offense the last time we spoke. He was going on and on about Muslims and how you couldn’t trust them and there wasn’t a good one among ’em. Another member of my club said this was unfair, and that a lot of Muslims were decent folk who just wanted to do well for their families. Steve the Cop said that might be true, but if they were actually decent people they wouldn’t cover up for the terrorists in their midst.

    “You really have no self-awareness at all, do you, Steve?” I asked. It kinda went downhill from there.)

  5. It usually does. For instance, if you show certain of these types up — by, say, beating them at darts, eg., you haven’t lived until the one you beat later tells you that, b/c he knows you’re trained in fighting, if you fight back against an assailant who takes a swing at you unprovoked, he can shoot you. Run. Retreat. He’s in charge.

    You haven’t lived until that same cop has his wife call in anonymous complaints that lead to your standing out in your driveway with rifles trained on you, and a squad of police staging on the street beside yours.

    You haven’t lived until one of your special ops buddies is ratted out by an off-duty cop for his carry piece, which he wears openly — cops themselves of course being the only people who should be allowed around firearms — or until you are threatened with arrest in front of your son for having a completely disassembled pistol, that you legally own and have a permit to carry in one of the most gun-friendly places in America, out on your porch along with the supplies needed to clean it, while you are in the midst of cleaning it.

    Yes, there are good cops. But I haven’t met one who isn’t the kind of guy who calls procedure penalties during pick-up football games.

  6. “No cop has to arrest a mother for letting her kids play outside”

    Are you sure about that? I’m only pretty sure if Child Protective Services is involved they can compel the cop to arrest.

    I could be wrong.

  7. We don’t seem to have many of that type running around here. By here, I mean in the KCPD. But it’s a state-supervised department that tends to be more professional than your typical medium to large city department that normally incorporates the totalitarian viewpoint of the “liberals” who are elected to run medium to large cities.

  8. …because he knows you’re trained in fighting, if you fight back against an assailant who takes a swing at you unprovoked, he can shoot you. Run. Retreat. He’s in charge.

    Yup. And I don’t make things any easier when I point out that he could shoot any one of us for any damn reason at all, because his buddies on the force would cover for him, and Internal Affairs and the DA’s office and the Mayor’s office would all let it slide rather than get on the wrong side of the Mafia In Blue. It also doesn’t help when I ask all the other guys in the club whether they’re comfortable with this state of affairs.

    “Steve could shoot you in the face right now, Mike, for no damn reason at all, and the only punishment he’d get was a paid vacation, even if all 30 of us in the room came forward as witnesses. Comforting thought, isn’t it?”

  9. there aren’t enough good cops to worth mentioning really

    they’re just terrible people

  10. to *be* worth mentioning i mean