Meriden Police Officer Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison for Using Unreasonable Force, Obstructing Justice
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 23, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Rhonda M. Glover, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that former Meriden Police Officer Evan Cossette, 26, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 14 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release.
On June 3, 2013, a jury found Cossette guilty of one count of using unreasonable force and one count of obstructing a federal investigation by preparing a false report.
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 and still handcuffed 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.
“Law enforcement officers have an incredibly difficult job, one in which they must exercise good judgment and restraint at all times,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “When they fail to do so, they should never try to cover their tracks, file false reports, and lie about their conduct. A prison term is appropriate for any police officer who inflicts injury on a restrained and compliant victim and then attempts to obstruct the ensuing investigation. It is our hope that this prosecution will help to instruct all law enforcement officers how not to conduct themselves and will fortify the integrity of a profession that is entrusted with protecting our liberties as well as our safety.”
“Law enforcement officers, throughout the state and the country, need to remember that the dishonorable and criminal actions of a single police officer will never define them as people, as a department, and, most importantly, as police officers,” stated Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Glover. “Because the defendant broke his solemn oath to protect and to serve and, in doing so, endangered the public’s confidence in law enforcement, today’s sentence is fair and just.”
Judge Arterton ordered Cossette to pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined within 90 days.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police. The case was being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul H. McConnell and David E. Novick.