Four Connecticut judicial marshals beat and kicked a man while he was handcuffed and shackled inside a jail cell, leaving him with two black eyes, a concussion and multiple cuts and bruises to his body, then lied about it on their reports.
But the beating was caught on surveillance video, which is why the victim is now suing.
Josue Matta, then 18, claims in the lawsuit that judicial marshals Christopher Dadio, Luther Cuffee, John Slaven and Victor Colon were the ones who attacked him. In Connecticut, judicial marshals are in charge of transporting prisoners and providing courthouse security.
On January 10, 2017, Matta appeared in front of a judge at the New Haven County Courthouse where he was charged with interfering with a police officer, two counts of assault on a peace officer, and second-degree breach of peace.
The judge gave Matta a $50,000 bail and Matta was walked back to the holding cell by Dadio.
While walking back, Matta and Dadio exchange multiple insults.
As they neared the door of the holding cell, Dadio threw Matta into the cell.
At that point, Matta feared for his life and thought he was going to die, the lawsuit states.
Matta quickly tried shutting the holding cell door in an attempt to block Dadio from entering and attacking him.
While Matta tried to hold the cell door closed, Dadio pepper sprayed him in the face, causing Matta to fall to the floor in pain.
That was when Dadio began kicking and punching Matta while pressing his boot on his head while Matta was still handcuffed and shackled.
Nearby officers Cuffee, Slaven and Colon saw saw their fellow officer attacking Matta and instead of trying to deescalate the situation, they joined in and started attacking Matta.
The lawsuit also states that Matta was taken to another cell where they cleaned his eyes but refused him medical assistance.
Matta was the last to leave the holding cells and was put in a transport van alone so there would be no witnesses to the abuse that happened.
Matta’s current attorney is Kenneth Krayeske.
According to New Haven Register:
“My client was in handcuffs and ankle shackles. He was not a harm to himself or anyone else. You don’t beat a guy silly because you think you can get away with it, and you’re going to teach him a lesson that the courts aren’t going to teach him,” said Krayeske.
Dadio is currently the only officer so far that was reprimanded, and received a 20-day suspension after the investigation finished.
If it were not for the security footage, the abuse by the officers "would of gotten away with it," Krayeske said.
The officers claimed in their reports that Matta spat in Dadio's eye and fought marshals after refusing to comply, according to US News.
The report that was filed by Dadio states that he was walking through the cell blocks when Matta yelled out to Dadio and Dadio turned toward Matta and that is when Matta spit in his eye.
The report goes on to say that Dadio then called for back-up and demanded Matta to place his hands by his waist and step back but the Matta not only refused but took a fighting stance and that is when Dadio opened the holding cell and pepper sprayed Matta.
The officers then charged Matta with assaulting a peace officer.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Turcotte subpoenaed the court house's security footage that covers the holding cells of the incident, but Adam Mauriello, who represented the Judicial Marshal Services, filed a motion for a protective order so the footage can not be viewed publicly.
Mauriello argued stating that public disclosure of the footage would circumvent security measures used by the Judicial Branch.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Corinne Klatt currently has the videos and most of the documents of the internal investigation placed under seal.
“The only reason (the Judicial Branch) filed that motion is because what’s on those videos is so completely and totally inflammatory that they don’t want it to get public,” said Krayeske.