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Worcester officer indicted in beating of prisoner

Michael Motyka appeared in court in April. AP

The Worcester police officer arrested in April after being accused of beating and racially insulting a prisoner has been indicted by a grand jury.

Michael J. Motyka, 50, of Rochdale was indicted Monday on one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot), Attorney General Maura T. Healey said. He will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court at a later date.

The attorney general took over prosecution of Motyka at the request of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. Early made the request because the alleged victim in the case, Gerald Jones, is being prosecuted by the district attorney’s office in other cases.


Worcester police arrested Motyka in April after they said they had video evidence that the 17-year veteran beat a handcuffed Jones in a holding cell in December. Police said Motyka made derogatory remarks about Jones’s “black skin” during the incident.

Motyka was arraigned April 10 in Central District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon as well as a civil rights violation. The civil rights charge was not included in the grand jury indictment, which supersedes the charges in Central District Court.

“We are bringing the charge we believe the evidence supports,” Healey’s office wrote in response to a question about the civil rights charge, adding that the investigation was “thorough and extensive.”

Healey said the investigation into Motyka was conducted by State Police officers. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of the Public Integrity Division and Assistant Attorney General John Verner, who acts as chief trial counsel of the office’s Criminal Bureau.

Motyka was placed on paid administrative leave in April and remained on leave Monday, city spokesman John F. Hill said.

Hill declined to comment on whether Motyka has faced a disciplinary hearing, citing personnel restrictions.


The city in July paid Jones and his lawyers $225,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Jones said in June that he planned to cooperate in the attorney general’s investigation and that he hoped other police officers allegedly present for the beating would be punished.

Hill confirmed in June that three police officers who witnessed the beating had retired in recent months. He declined to name the officers, citing personnel restrictions.

In June, Jones’s lawyer identified Officer Jeffrey B. Toney as a fourth officer who was present for the beating. Jones said he was upset with Toney, who is black, for allegedly insulting him rather than coming to his aid.

Hill confirmed in June that Toney was placed on paid administrative leave in mid-April. On Monday, Hill said Toney was no longer on administrative leave and was still employed by the city.

Hill declined to say whether Toney had faced a disciplinary hearing, again citing personnel restrictions.