According to an FBI press release today, Sept. 23, 2013, former Meriden, Conn. police officer, Evan Cossette, age 26, has ben sentenced to 14 months in prison for using excessive force against a handcuffed and intoxicated man he was putting into a jail cell. U.S. District Judge, Janet Bond issued the sentence and added one year of supervised release after serving his prison term.
Cossette was found guilty by a federal grand jury on June 3, 2013 of one count of using excessive force and one count of obstructing justice by filing a false report of the incident.
The case has unusual emotional factors. Cossette is the son of Meriden Police Chief Jeffry Cossette. The son had been raised with a desire to be a police officer. According to his associates, Cossette became a Meriden Police Explorer at age 14, a police service technician at 19, and finally an officer in 2009 at the age of 22. He was hired and completed the police academy in 2008 and training in early 2009.
An unnamed city official reported that the federal prosecutors offered two plea deals to Cossette but he refused them since either of them would have meant the end of his career as a police officer.
According to prosecutors, a surveillance video played during the trial showed Cossette pushing Pedro Temich into a jail cell in 2010. Temich fell and hit his head on a concrete bench, causing a 12-centimeter gash and knocking Temich unconscious. (See video here)
"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." (FBI press release)
After the incident happened, Cossette was issued a reprimand which might have ended the ordeal until two police officers complained to the city manager that Evan Cossette was getting favorable treatment because his father, Jeffry Cossette the police chief. This resulted in Federal authorities beginning their investigation.