Home Attorney Roberts Areas of Practice Articles & Publications Contact Us Reviews



News & Noteworthy

Feds Want Records Of Homes Owned By Meriden Chief's Family


The Hartford Courant

4:40 PM EST, November 17, 2011


Federal authorities investigating brutality charges against the city police chief's son have subpoenaed the city seeking Housing Department records for three properties owned by members of the chief's family.

Among the records the city must produce are all police department and housing authority records for three addresses – 51 View St., 20 Jackson St. and 28 Jackson St.

The View Street house is owned by Police Chief Jeffry Cossette's son, Evan Cossette, who purchased it for $65,100 in March 2010, according to property records. Both of the Jackson Street houses are owned by Susan D. Cossette, the wife of Jeffry Cossette. She purchased both properties in September 2009 for the same price of $95,200, city records show.

Federal authorities are seeking all "documents that set forth the policy and procedures of the Housing Division for responding to allegations of harassment, intimidation or discriminatory treatment."

They also are seeking any documents concerning code violation enforcement, referral of code violations to another department, inspections, complaint response and records for the city's Neighborhood Rehabilitation Advisory Board.

The advisory board's main function is to eliminate blight in the city. If a property owner is cited by either police or housing officials they can appeal to the advisory board, according to board member Craig Hanson.

Hanson said he doesn't remember any of the homes owned by the Cossette's ever coming before the board.

City officials said Thursday they are gathering the records. They must be turned over to the grand jury by Dec. 7.

It is unclear why federal authorities are suddenly focusing on properties owned by the Cossette family, although it signal that the grand jury investigation is likely to go far deeper than the original brutality allegations against Evan Cossette.

Federal and state authorities convened a grand jury last April to investigate brutality allegations against Evan Cossette after two officers, Donald Huston and Brian Sullivan, complained that he was getting preferential treatment when it came to disciplinary matters because his father is the police chief.

Evan Cossette was accused of police brutality in three separate cases including a May 2010 incident in a jail cell that was videotaped. On the tape Cossette pushes a handcuffed suspect, Pedro Temich, backward into the jail cell. Temich hit his head on a cement bench and passed out on the floor bleeding.

Evan Cossette is shown on the tape walking into the cell several times and moving Temich around before taking his handcuffs off just before ambulance personnel arrived. Evan Cossette was given a letter of reprimand in that case. After that there were two more brutality claims made against him.

One case involved Robert Methvin, who Evan Cossette acknowledged kneeing in the face in October 2010 after police had been called to Methvin's home because of a loud argument. Methvin filed a brutality complaint with internal affairs but was never interviewed by the unit, led at that time by Sgt. Leonard Caponigro.

Caponigro found the allegations in the matter baseless after a six-minute interview with Cossette in which he told the chief's son not to worry because he was "just going through the motions." Caponigro announced this week that he was retiring.

In the third case, Evan Cossette used a Taser to subdue Joseph G. Bryans in the parking lot of the Midstate Medical Center in January. Bryan had walked out of the emergency room because he was not getting treatment and the hospital called police. Cossette tackled him and, after handcuffing him, shot Bryan several times in the back with a stun gun. Caponigro cleared Cossette in that case as well.

All three men are suing the city and the police department.




Legal Disclaimer
Copyright© 2011-2017 Sally A. Roberts, LLC All rights reserved