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Conn. Police Chief Named in Two Lawsuits

MERIDEN, Conn. --

Embattled Meriden Police Chief Jeffry Cossette is named in two lawsuits filed in New Britain Superior Court Thursday.

The first lawsuit was filed on behalf of former Meriden Police Officer John Neron, who claims Cossette and William Glass defamed him and invaded his privacy.

Neron said he lost his most recent job in security at Bozzuto's because Cossette disclosed information to his current boss about why he left the department.

The lawsuit alleges Cossette told Neron's boss that he had "been forced to resign from the Meriden Police Department, and that he had been arrested for domestic violence."

The civil complaint also claims that the chief said Neron was a "subject of many sexual harassment complaints and that he had been labeled a woman stalker."

The second suit was filed on behalf of Meriden Police Officer Donald Huston, who claims Cossette invaded his privacy, among other wrongs.

In the lawsuit, Huston claims the chief revealed private information about him to the press and released information about a letter of reprimand that Huston received in 2007. The letter was supposed to have been removed from his personnel file after two years, yet it never was," the suit claims.

The suit also claims that Cossette told reporters that Huston was arrested in 2007 in a hunting accident in Berlin. This case had been dismissed and the arrest was not a matter of public record, the suit claims.

Both lawsuits, filed by Attorney Sally Roberts, claim Cossette opened and disclosed the personnel files of Neron and Huston, revealing information that is not obtainable under a Freedom of Information request.

Cossette came under fire after Officer Brian Sullivan and Huston field a complaint that Evan Cossette, Cossete's son, was treated favorably in internal investigations because he is the chief's son.

The officers claim Evan Cossette received special treatment after being investigated for using excessive force.

In one instance cited in the complaint, Cossette is seen on surveillance video pushing a handcuffed man, Pedro Temich, in a holding cell after he was picked up for intoxication in Meriden last May. In the video, Temich hits his head on a concrete bench and Evan Cossette is seen moving Temich.

The complaint said Evan Cossette was given a letter of reprimand and ordered to take four hours of training on the proper use of force. The complaint also said other officers would have been punished more harshly.

Evan Cossette has been placed on administrative duty pending a federal investigation into the complaint.

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