MERIDEN POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH
USING UNREASONABLE FORCE, OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford returned a two-count indictment today charging Meriden Police Officer EVAN COSSETTE, 25, with federal civil rights violations.
The indictment alleges that on May 1, 2010, COSSETTE and another Meriden Police officer responded to a reported hit-and-run incident. After identifying “P.T.” as the driver likely involved in the hit-and-run incident, the officers attempted to arrest him. Although P.T. initially refused to comply with commands from COSSETTE and another officer, he was eventually handcuffed and placed under arrest. COSSETTE transported P.T. to the Meriden Police Department and escorted a compliant and handcuffed P.T. from the squad car to the holding cell. Once inside the holding cell, COSSETTE firmly shoved P.T., causing P.T. to fall backwards and strike his head on a cement cell bench. P.T. suffered a severe gash on his head and lost consciousness, but regained it prior to the arrival of paramedics. However, COSSETTE falsely told a paramedic attempting to gain important medical information that P.T. had not lost consciousness. P.T. was then transported to the hospital for further treatment.
The indictment further alleges that COSSETTE obstructed justice by making false and misleading statements, as well as material omissions, in his report relating to the arrest and processing of P.T. in order to cover up and create a false justification for his assault upon P.T.
COSSETTE is charged with one count of use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. He is also charged with one count of obstruction of a federal investigation by preparing a false report, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven. COSSETTE’s arraignment is scheduled for November 20 at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul H. McConnell.
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