Federal Jury Finds Meriden Police Officer Guilty of Using Unreasonable Force, Obstructing Justice
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 03, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal jury in New Haven has found Meriden Police Officer Evan Cossette, 26, guilty of one count of using unreasonable force and one count of obstructing a federal investigation by preparing a false report. The trial before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton began on May 28, and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon after deliberating for less than three hours.
According to evidence at trial, 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 placed him 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 a retreating P.T., causing him to fall backward and strike his head on a cement cell bench. P.T. suffered a 12-centimeter gash to the back of his head and lost consciousness. P.T. was then transported to the hospital for treatment.
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.
“We thank the members of the jury for their thoughtful consideration of the evidence,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “Our system of justice cannot tolerate abuses by police officers, and today’s verdict helps preserve the integrity of a profession that is entrusted with protecting our liberties as well as our safety.”
“As law enforcement officers, we are measured by a higher standard because we are both sworn and privileged to uphold the United States Constitution,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “We must meet that standard with unfailing integrity and honor. Those who cannot meet that essential standard should not be wearing a badge. While there is no joy in today’s guilty verdict, we know that justice has been served.”
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for August 28, 2013, at which time Cossette faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul H. McConnell and David E. Novick.