A settlement of $120,000 will be received by a boy from Worcester with autism, following a 2017 incident during which two Worcester officers fractured his elbow while restraining him, as revealed by court documents.
The federal lawsuit against the Worcester police and two officers was initiated by the boy’s mother in September 2020. The agreed upon settlement for the family totals $248,000, out of which about $35,000 will be received by the mother, while the rest will be allocated towards court and attorney expenses.
Court documents outline that the incident transpired on September 25, 2017, when Lindsey Beshai Torres, the boy’s mother, called Worcester police after her 10-year-old son threw a Gatorade bottle at her. This occurred while they were in a car near Gates Lane Elementary School in Webster Square. Owing to concerns over her son’s medication issues and his behavior, she decided to call 911 for medical assistance, a step she had not taken before with her son.
The responding Worcester officers, John Alers and Paul McCarthy, found Torres’ son to be calm on their arrival. However, the situation escalated when the boy threw a bag of potato chips out the window, leading to Alers attempting to remove the boy from the car. The officers subsequently threw the boy to the ground, kneeled on him, and twisted his arm in an effort to control him, resulting in a broken arm requiring emergency hospitalization and surgery. The incident also caused the boy significant mental distress and a distrust of the police, the lawsuit claimed.
Alers, in his defense, asserted that he used force as the boy was trying to dash into a hazardous intersection. This claim was dismissed as “fictional” in the court documents.
The internal investigation by the Worcester police, as mentioned in the lawsuit, exonerated Alers due to lack of evidence except for the mother’s testimony. Worcester Chief Steven Sargent, also interviewed during the investigation, stated that the force used was “appropriate” for restraining the boy to protect him.
The sum allocated to the boy from the total settlement of $248,500 will be placed in a trust managed by his grandmother. This will cater to his future needs, including education, enrichment programs, transportation, taxes, and entertainment. Attorney fees and court costs will deduct approximately $92,000 from the overall sum.
The federal Department of Justice is currently investigating the Worcester Police Department for civil rights violations, as the department has been sued multiple times in federal court. Recently, a lawsuit settlement was made with a man who spent three years in prison after an illegal search of his phone by a Worcester officer. The department has reportedly paid more than $4 million in settlements since 2010.