Settlement Information Released in Police Brutality Case
There have been almost a dozen police brutality cases against former Enfield, Connecticut, officer Matthew Worden, and settlement information regarding the most recent case, for the first time, has been released. Aime Olschafskie, who filed a civil lawsuit against the officer in December 2014, is to receive $140,000 from the town’s former insurance carrier, CIRMA. Olschafskie filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate of her son, Tyler Damato, who died in February 2013 at the age of 20.
According to court documents, Damato had gotten into a car accident on October 24, 2013, and sustained a “traumatic brain injury when his head hit the pavement.” As a result, the man had “a significant diminution of his motor and cognitive skills, was forced to walk with a cane and experienced depression.”
One night he began to display signs of depression and expressed suicidal thoughts, so Olschafskie asked her mother to go to the Enfield police station, explain Damato’s condition and ask police to help bring him to the hospital.
Officers arrived at Damato’s residence around 8 P.M. and Olschafskie “explained Tyler’s situation and repeatedly emphasized that because Damato had suffered a recent, serious traumatic brain injury, they should be gentle with him and make sure he did not hit his head because this could aggravate his brain injury and he could potentially die if he hit his head,” according to the filing. Damato agreed to go to the hospital but dropped his cane on the way to the vehicle.
“As he was bending for his walking cane, Tyler Damato, without warning or justification, was violently forced to the ground by Officer Worden and/or one of the other defendant police officers, who, without provocation of any kind, smashed his head into the asphalt multiple times and tased him twice, before kneeling on his head,” according to the lawsuit. Damato was knocked unconscious for a period of time and taken by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital. He was released several days later.
Two months after the incident, Damato was involved in another car accident in the parking lot of Holy Family Church. He was driving “at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle and started to slide,” according to the report. Damato struck two curbs before he hit a tree and died shortly after being transported to the hospital.
“This was a case where a terrible injury was intentionally inflicted after both officers were made aware that Tyler had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury and this accident ultimately led to his death,” said Attorney A. Paul Spinella, who originally filed the lawsuit.
This case was the fourth civil suit naming Worden as a defendant. Worden was terminated from his position in October 2014 after allegations were made that he used excessive force in his arrest of a Windsor resident, Mark Maher, April 1. In video footage of the arrest, Worden can be seen punching Maher at least three times while detaining him.
The town has paid roughly $225,000 in total to settle lawsuits against Worden, according to recently released documents, along with cases involving other officers and the police department.