Meriden settles police brutality lawsuit for $55,000

Meriden settles police brutality lawsuit for $55,000

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MERIDEN — The City Council voted Tuesday to settle a federal lawsuit, from a man claiming he was beaten by six officers, for $55,000.   

“The officers claim no liability whatsoever,” said Police Chief Jeffry Cossette. “It was settled for business purposes…. Sometimes the cost to defend the case exceeds the amount of the case.” 

On June 14, 2014, David Anziano was arrested by Meriden police and charged with interfering with police, violation of a protective order and second-degree harassment. Information on the disposition of the case was not readily available.  

Anziano’s lawsuit alleges officers violated his civil rights during the arrest.

The arrest resulted injuries to his head and a torso and three fractured vertebra, in addition to post traumatic stress disorder, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names several members of the department, including retired officer Steve Lespier, who now works for the Cheshire Police Department, Cossette, Daniel McKenna, Michael Fonda, Michael Shedlock and Eric Toogood. 

Lespier declined to comment on the lawsuit when reached by phone Thursday. A police report on the incident was not readily available. 

In an interview Friday, Anziano said the situation stemmed from an issue with his ex-wife, who had a protective order against him barring him from being within 100 feet of the home. Anziano said his ex-wife called the police to report he had violated the protective order when he went to pick up his teenage son for a visit. 

Anziano said he and and his son were staying at a hotel that night when six officers showed up. He asked the officers if they had a warrant and they said “no.”  Anziano said the officers burst in and beat him. 

Anziano initially requested $50,000 in compensation to cover medical bills and $3 million for emotional trauma. 

Anziano represented himself, while the city retained the law firm Karsten & Tallberg, LLC. The lawsuit was transferred to federal court in 2016.

The City Council discussed the lawsuit in executive session Tuesday before voting to settle the case for $55,000. 

The settlement will not make up for the trauma for him and his son, Anziano said. Jared Anziano, was valedictorian of Maloney High School in 2015.

“It’s a bittersweet victory I guess,” Anziano said.

Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

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