Mary Ellen Godin
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
MERIDEN - A former police officer
who claimed that Chief Jeffry
Cossette retaliated against him and
forced him to retire after he filed
a discrimination claim lost his
Former Officer John Neron filed suit
against Cossette in October 2008,
claiming he was retaliated against
for going to the Connecticut Human
Rights and Opportunities Commission
with a complaint over alleged
discrimination in the department.
City attorneys who argued on behalf
of Cossette convinced the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit
that Neron's treatment was based on
"Very simply, we argued that John
Neron's on-the-job performance was
below standards and the chief was
only motivated by those deficiencies
and trying to get Mr. Neron to do
his job the way he should," said
attorney John Gorman.
"The appellate court reaffirms my
decision," Cossette said Monday.
"This case did not have enough merit
to go to trial, and it upheld that."
While on the police force, Neron was
arrested twice in one month in
domestic incidents involving a
custody dispute. While on
administrative leave following the
arrests, Neron filed the CHRO
complaint alleging discrimination.
The complaint was later withdrawn.
At the end of 2006, Neron was given
backto- back 30-day unpaid
suspensions for violating department
procedures following his arrests. He
was arrested again in 2007 on a
charge of violating a protective
order, according to Record-Journal
Court records show he has no
convictions. Neron's attorney, John
Williams, argued to the lower court
that Neron had an exemplary record
during his 11 years on the force but
had been passed over for assignments
Neron has said he suffered a heart
attack on Jan. 20, 2008 and 11 days
later was asked to resign from the
department. He also waived his right
to bring a lawsuit, grievance or
legal proceedings against the city.
Neron's attorneys had claimed that
the lawsuit was against Cossette,
not the city, and the lower-court
judge erred by issuing a judgment
without a jury trial. The appellate
court upheld the judge's decision.
"How could they do that?" Neron said
about Monday's ruling. "I don't know
how they could do that."
Neron and his attorneys argued that
he became a target within the
department following his arrests and
"We are disappointed in the result
but recognized from the beginning
that it would be difficult to
persuade three judges to overturn a
ruling by one of their colleagues,"
said attorney Sally Roberts, who
represented Neron in the appeal.
Roberts is also representing three
men who claim Cossette's son,
Officer Evan Cossette, used
excessive force against suspects.
Roberts filed three separate intents
to sue the city on their behalf on
Two police officers have also hired
Roberts to represent them in a
complaint filed with the city
claiming that Evan Cossette wasn't
disciplined as severely as other
officers for more serious
infractions. The FBI, state police
and city are investigating the
Copyright 2011, Record-Journal