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Meriden Chief Target Of Lawsuits
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Embattled department leader invaded officer's privacy, suit alleges

By AMANDA FALCONE
The Hartford Courant
7:09 PM EDT, April 21, 2011

MERIDEN

Police Chief Jeffry Cossette is the target of two lawsuits filed in state court Thursday, adding to the department leader's troubles.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of former Meriden Officer John Neron, who is suing Cossette for defamation and invasion of privacy. Neron's suit also names William Glass, a manager at Buzzoto's Inc. in Cheshire. The second suit was filed on behalf of Officer Donald Huston, who is suing for invasion of privacy. The lawsuits were filed by Sally Roberts, of New Britain, the attorney for both of the men.

Both men are seeking financial compensation of at least $15,000.

Cossette has been under fire since Huston and Officer Brian Sullivan complained that there was a disparity in how the department disciplined its officers. They alleged that police brutality charges against Cossette's son, Evan Cossette, were dismissed because he is the chief's son.

Three allegations of excessive force have been made against Evan Cossette in less than a year and he was placed on administrative duty this week pending the outcome of investigations being conducted by federal authorities and an attorney hired by the city.

Huston's lawsuit against the chief alleges that Jeffry Cossette maliciously or recklessly released information from Huston's personnel file to the press earlier this month. The suit says the information should not have been released because it was protected by the state Freedom of Information Act.

Huston has had troubles of his own recently. Last fall, he was placed on administrative leave while the police department looked into whether he used excessive force during an incident at a local mall. He ultimately received a five-day suspension.

 

In March, he was late to a private-duty assignment, and a tardy slip will be placed in his personnel file.

Neron's lawsuit alleges that Cossette tried to hurt Neron's relationship with Glass. It says that Neron, who was a Meriden officer for 11 years, worked for Glass after he left the police department, and it charges that Cossette made false or malicious statements to the manager about Neron. The lawsuit also says that Glass, in turn, made false statements about Neron.

Roberts says work began on Neron's defamation case in February 2010 — before the recent allegations against the chief.

Cossette could not be reached for comment.

 

                              


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