WATCH: Chicopee City Council Votes to Settle Lawsuit Against Police Who Pushed Woman into Wall and Choked Her

CHICOPEE – The City Council voted to settle a federal lawsuit against three police officers and the city Monday night.

Following an about 45-minute closed-door meeting with several city lawyers, the Council voted 11-0 to pay $135,000 to Maylene Maldonado, the Holyoke resident who filed the suit.

The City Council and Mayor Richard J. Kos called a meeting of the council’s finance subcommittee and a special meeting of the full board after councilors said last week they wanted more information before voting to allocate the money from the city’s stabilization account.

“After speaking to six to eight police officers, they said this was the best way to go because the video is indisputable,” City Councilor Timothy S. McLellan said. “Not that I’m in agreement with this.”

None of the other City Councilors talked during the open session of the meeting.
In a meeting Thomas Rooke, a lawyer who represented the city, urged the City Council to allocate the money so the suit could be settled.

Maldonado initially leveled 16 charges against the city and eight police officers in a $1 million federal court suit. She claimed two patrolmen pushed her into the wall in the elevator cutting her lip and later Sgt. Daniel Major grabbed her around the throat and pushed her to the ground during her booking on assault on a police officer charge in February 2013.

Mayor Richard J. Kos in March released a video taken of the booking which shows Major, who no longer works for the department, grabbing her around the throat.

In the past, Major argued he was acting in self-defense when he forced Maldonado to the floor by her throat. He said she was high on PCP and spitting blood.

In the suit, Maldonado accused the city and eight police officers of assault and civil rights violations including Major, Officer John Birks, Officer Ryan Moran, Sgt. Jeffery Godere, Officer Travis Odiorne, Officer Andre Remillard, Capt. Mark Gilbert and Acting Police Chief Thomas Charette, who is now retired.

In May, Judge Michael A. Ponser dismissed charges against Charette, Godere, Remillard and Gilbert. A month later he dismissed charges against Odiorne. That left as defendants Major, Birks and Moran as well as the city, according to court documents.

Following the suit, Police Chief William R. Jebb made a number of improvements to the booking area, including installing cameras in the elevator that leads to the booking room.