CHICOPEE – The city and the Police Department are being sued for an incident involving alleged police brutality in the arrest of Maylene Maldonado in February 2013.
Mayor Richard Kos acknowledged the suit has been filed and said that Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Rooke would be representing the city in the matter. Sixteen counts have been charged against the defendants, which includes the city, as well as individual officers, including former Police Chief Thomas Charette
Kos declined to offer additional comments, as the litigation is pending.
According to the court documents, Maldonado allegedly was “unjustifiably choked and physically beaten by Chicopee Police Sgt. Daniel Major. While Sgt. Major repeatedly choked Maylene Maldonado during booking, Officer Travis Odirone, Officer Ryan Moran, officer John Birks, Sgt. Jeffry Godere and Officer Andre Remillard watched, did not intervene and assisted in the beating, engaging in a civil conspiracy in attempts to cover up the pervasive civil rights violation. The brutal beating resulted in severe physical injuries, as well as extreme mental anguish to Maylene Maldonado.”
The documents states that “on or about Feb. 17, 2013” Birks, Godere, Remillard and Moran were dispatched to the Econo Lodge on Burnett Road to “check on a man who was incoherent and carrying a large knife.”
On scene Maldonado was seen running toward the Pride truck stop. “Plaintiff stated she had been drinking and smoking PCP with an Anthony Jimenez and another unidentified female. Jimenez stated Plaintiff had got his car stuck in a snow bank in the hotel parking lot.
“It was decided that a friend, Cory Brantley, would stay with Jimenez and Plaintiff in the hotel room. Plaintiff left the lobby and began to walk to the hotel room. Defendant Birks still had the Plaintiff’s license at this time. Plaintiff returned shortly to get her license back. Defendant Birks told her he gave it to Jimenez. Plaintiff continued to attempt to get her license back from Defendant Birk.”
Maldonado slapped Birk, placed in handcuffs and transported to the police station.
It was in the station Maldonado alleged that her face “was smashed up against the wall of the elevator by Defendants Birks and Moran.”
During booking Maldonado said she was under the influence of PCP and alcohol and had a head and mouth injury.
Major said to her, according to the lawsuit, “if you don’t cooperate, bad things are going to happen.”
After complaining about pain from a lip piercing, “Defendant Major abruptly applied a chokehold to Plaintiff’s neck and yelled, ‘Shut the **** up.’”
Major and the other officers brought her to the floor. Maldonado “was not offered medical treatment for her apparent injuries, intoxication or for being under the influence of PCP at any time.”
She was arraigned and charged with assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest on Feb. 19.
At that time Deputy Chief William Jebb filed a misconduct claim against Major. Then Chief Thomas Charette assigned Capt. Mark Gilbert to investigate the incident. Gilbert found no violation of departmental polices or procedures. Charette agreed with Gilbert’s findings. Major has since been charged with assault and battery.