Police settle lawsuit over wrongful death of Worchester man

Local police have settled a $1.6 million wrongful death lawsuit concerning the 2009 death of a Worchester, Massachusetts, man at a sobriety checkpoint. The original lawsuit had sought $26 million.

The incident at a sobriety checkpoint stemmed from the man’s striking of a police officer with his car door as he attempted to exit the vehicle. According to police reports, authorities were suspicious of a passenger in the vehicle smoking marijuana at the time of the checkpoint stop.

The man was then physically removed from the vehicle, forced to the ground and beaten. Afterwards he was handcuffed and placed in leg irons and dragged across the ground to a police cruiser.

At the time of his booking at the local police barracks, the man appeared unresponsive. He was sent to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the lawsuit filed by the man’s family, police officers denied him medical treatment until after his booking, a time gap of 46 minutes.

It remains unknown exactly what caused the man’s death. The family believes he suffocated to death during his restraint, but no concrete determination was ever made.

The man was traveling en route to pick up a boat he had purchased on Craigslist. He had come through North Andover to pick up two friends on the way.

No police were charged with any crimes, and investigations conducted within the police department eventually cleared all officers of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the man is survived by a wife and three children.

Source: Wicked Local, “Police settle 2009 lawsuit,” Tim McCarthy, Nov. 30, 2012