Meriden Police Investigation Report To Be Released
By DAVE ALTIMARI,
The Hartford Courant
2:21 PM EDT, May 24, 2012
The results of a long-awaited independent investigation into allegations of nepotism and favoritism within the Meriden Police Department will be revealed Friday.
A press conference is being held Friday to discuss the 44-page report by Hartford attorney Thomas Daily.
Daily, a former federal prosecutor, was hired 13 months ago by City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior after two police officers, Brian Sullivan and Donald Huston, submitted a letter to Kendzior claiming that Officer Evan Cossette got favorable treatment because he was the son of Police Chief Jeffry Cossette.
While Kendzior would not discuss the contents of the report Thursday, a press release announcing it was finished said Kendzior and the police chief "would be available to discuss the positive outcomes of this report."
Evan Cossette was accused of police brutality three times within about a 13 month period and only once were the charges substantiated, a case where Evan Cossette is caught on a security tape pushing a handcuffed inmate into a holdong cell.
The inmate, Pedro Temich, fell backward and cracked his head on a stone bench in the cell. The video showed and unconscious and bleeding Temich lying in the floor while Evan Cossette came in and out of the cell moving him around and eventually sitting him up and taking the handcuffs off before medical personnel arrived.
The Temich video drew the attention of state and federal investigators who announced a joint investigation into police brutality allegations against Evan Cossette and the department as a whole. A grand jury has been hearing evidence sporadically since April of 2011 and that investigation is still on-going.
The then-head of internal affairs Leonard Caponigro, who has since died, did find that Evan Cossette violated department regulations in the Temich incident but his recommendation was overruled by Deputy Police Chief Timothy Tupolos who instead issued a written reprimand.
All three of the men that have accused Evan Cossette of police brutality – Temich, Joseph Bryans and Robert Methvin – have either been before the grand jury or been interviewed by FBI agents. All three also have filed federal lawsuits against the police department that are pending.
Evan Cossette has been on administrative duty since the federal investigation was announced.
The city had paid Daily more than $38,000 through July 1. He has not submitted any other bill since then. Attorney's representing some of the officers or arrestees involved in these cases have raised questions about how independent Daily's investigation really was since an internal affairs officer from the police department sat in on every interview done with a Meriden police officer.
In one instance that led to an internal affairs investigation against now-retired Sgt. Buddy Gibbs, who changed his story when he was interviewed by Daily. In his original three minute internal affairs interview Gibbs backed up Evan Cossette's version of events regarding the Temich incident – that Temich was unruly and that Cossette feared he was going to attack him even though Temich's hands were handcuffed behind his back.
But Gibbs has since told federal investigators and Daily that it was Cossette who was swearing at Temich and threatening Temich. Gibbs said that he lied originally because Cossette was the chief's son and Gibbs didn't want to get in trouble with the hierarchy of the department.
Copyright © 2012, The Hartford Courant