Lawsuits Filed vs. Cops, City and Chief
MERIDEN - Federal lawsuits on behalf of
two men who claim they were brutalized
by Officer Evan Cossette, son of the
police chief, have been filed in U.S.
District Court in New Haven. The
defendants were served Tuesday,
according to the attorney for the two
Both Pedro C. Temich and Robert A.
Methvin are suing Cossette, his father,
Jeffry Cossette, several other officers
and the city. They are seeking
compensation and punitive damages and
request a trial by jury.
Their attorney, Sally A. Roberts of New
Britain, is working with other clients
with complaints against the department,
including officers Donald Huston and
Federal and state officials are
investigating the department in the wake
of an April 1 complaint Huston and
Sullivan filed with the city alleging
nepotism and lax discipline for Evan
Cossette, who faced three accusations of
excessive force in seven months but was
reprimanded in only one instance.
The city has hired its own investigator.
The probes are ongoing.
Chief Cossette could not comment
Wednesday because of the pending
litigation, he said.
Both the Temich and Methvin suits are
associated with police surveillance
In the Temich filing, Roberts states
that Evan Cossette violently hurled the
handcuffed Temich "backwards into the
holding cell at the Meriden Police
Department, causing him to fall and
strike the back of his head against a
concrete bench," rendering him
unconscious and bleeding. Temich was
later taken to MidState Medical Center,
where he received 12 staples in his
head, she wrote.
After the shove, Cossette entered the
holding cell six or seven times,
propping Temich up against the bench and
moving him into other positions, but did
not use his emergency medical response
training to assist him, according to the
Lt. Marvin Richards is named in the suit
because he was shift commander during
the May 1, 2010 incident. The suit
faults him for allegedly watching Evan
Cossette push Temich but not stopping
him or alerting his superiors.
The department has also been criticized
for not investigating the incident until
six weeks later.
Sgt. Leonard Caponigro, of Internal
Affairs, who is named in both lawsuits,
found that Cossette had violated police
rules for use of force, but Deputy Chief
Timothy Topulos, who is also named in
both cases, applied a lesser charge. He
issued a letter of reprimand and ordered
four hours of training for Cossette, who
did not have any prior infractions - a
reason given for the lesser discipline.
The suit also names Officer Leighton
Gibbs as a defendant. Sgt. Glen
Milslagle, who works in Internal
Affairs, is named in both lawsuits.
Methvin's case alleges that Cossette
delivered knee strikes to his head while
he "was lying defenseless face down on
the ground with his hands cuffed behind
Detective John Cerejo had subdued
Methvin, who police say was drunk and
disorderly outside his Pasco Street home
in the October 2010 incident, when
Cossette came to assist Cerejo.
Afterward, Cossette is heard on audio
recorded by his body microphone telling
Cerejo that he had kneed Methvin, whose
teeth were pushed through his lower lip.
Methvin suffered facial injuries and
lost blood, the filing says, and
required treatment at MidState.
The lawsuit calls the knee strike
unnecessary and says it was "delivered
for the sole purpose of causing serious
Caponigro investigated the incident but
did not interview Methvin. The suit
claims Methvin came to the department
"numerous times" to give a statement but
was denied access to Caponigro.
The excessive force allegation was not
sustained and Caponigro can be heard
telling Evan Cossette in their recorded
interview not to worry because he is
just "going through the motions" before
speaking to Cerejo to close out the
Methvin was convicted in 2010 on charges
of interfering with an officer/resisting
arrest, according to the state Judicial
Attempts to reach the other named
officers late Wednesday were
Lt. Patrick Gaynor, the police union
president, said complaints and lawsuits
are recourses for people who take issue
with how an officer treated them.
"People don't often agree with the
officers when they're the subject of a
use of force," he said. "That's why they
have police professional liability
insurance and expert defense attorneys
Roberts said via e-mail Wednesday that
"the factual details outlined in the
complaints speak for themselves."
She also said a lawsuit on behalf of
Joseph Bryans, who claims Evan Cossette
brutalized him in an incident at
MidState in January of this year is a
"work in progress," since it is more
Internal Affairs cleared Cossette in the
incident, in which Roberts says he
tackled and shocked Bryans multiple
times with a Taser before handcuffing
him tightly to a hospital bed, causing