MERIDEN — A former city police officer and son of Police Chief Jeffry Cossette has settled an excessive force lawsuit filed six years ago by a prisoner who was shoved in a holding cell and suffered a serious head injury.
Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
Pedro Temich sued former officer Evan Cossette for violating his civil rights following a motor vehicle violation in May 2010. Temich was intoxicated at the time of his arrest and was walking backwards into a holding cell handcuffed when Cossette pushed him onto a concrete bench. The fall caused a severe head wound that left Temich unconscious and bleeding.
A U.S. District Court jury convicted Cossette on charges of excessive force and for lying about the incident in September 2013. He was sentenced to 14 months in a federal prison and ordered not to return to work as a police officer.
Cossette appealed his conviction to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court’s ruling.
At trial, Cossette’s attorneys tried unsuccessfully to block the jury from viewing a holding cell surveillance video of him shoving Temich. The video was released to state media outlets in 2011 by Temich's attorney, and caught the attention of the state's attorney's office. The FBI eventually launched a probe into the incident and other allegations against Cossette.
Temich’s attorney Sally Roberts, who filed the civil suit in 2011, said both parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the settlement.
A representative of Cossette’s attorney James Tallberg also said he would have no comment on the settlement.
Chief Jeffry Cossette could not be reached for comment about the settlement.
In his appeal, Cossette claimed he did not have "fair warning" that his conduct violated the charged statutes. The three-judge Second Circuit panel disagreed stating "law enforcement officers have been on notice that the Fourth Amendment prohibits their use of excessive force during an arrest."
The city had been a party to the civil lawsuit but was removed after Cossette’s conviction.