Maylene Maldonado was choked by Chicopee police Sergeant Daniel Major on camera in front of a room full of Chicopee police officers who did nothing to stop the attack on February 17, 2013. Major faced charges for the choking but his case was continued without finding and eventually dismissed. Moldanado is currently suing the police department over the attack. Maldonado’s arrest was avoidable and the result of questionable policing in the first place.
Maldonado was arrested for assault and battery on an officer and resisting arrest. According to the police reports, Maldonado slapped and scratched Chicopee Police Officer Matt Birks. Photos of small scratches on Birk’s face support the allegation.
But the interaction between Birk and Maldonado should have never happened.
The arrest report details the events leading to Maldonado’s arrest. The Chicopee police were called out to a motel responding to a report of an incoherent man carrying a large knife at an Econo-Lodge. When police pulled up to the motel, they saw Maldonado running to a nearby gas station and decided to chase her down to “check” on her. Sergeant Godere then brought her back to the motel. Maldonado had taken PCP and had been drinking before this police encounter.
This was already a questionable choice. The police split up to chase a woman when they were sent to deal with reports of a man with a knife, then took the woman back to the motel where there was a reportedly dangerous situation.
Another officer brought Anthony Jimenez, Moldanado's companion, out to the hotel lobby, where they all spoke. Officers took Maldonado and her companion's driver's licenses. The arrest report gives no reason for why this was done. Maldonado’s detention ended with police releasing her, underscoring the fact that there was no reason for her to be detained in the first place. Maldonado went back to her motel room, but the police hadn’t given back her license.
Officer Birk handed Maldonado’s license to her companion, but since she wasn’t present she didn’t know this. Maldonado returned to the motel lobby and demanded Officer Birk return her license. She became agitated and tried to grab a license, which belonged to someone else, out to Birk’s hands. Birk decided to pull the license away from Maldonado and she attacked him triggering her violent arrest and eventual choking during booking.
If this report is accurate, Maldonado certainly should not have attacked Birk, but the entire encounter was unnecessary. Almost every decision made by officers according to their police report was questionable and created the situation Maldonado was arrested for. Maldonado shouldn’t have been chased down, dragged back into a potentially dangerous situation, detained and had her driver’s license taken for no reason, not should her license have been handed off to someone else.
The report never even addressed the reportedly incoherent, knife-wielding man that the police were called out to deal with.