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Meriden man to sue city over son’s publicized arrest

MERIDEN — A Meriden man has notified city officials of his intent to sue the city and its police department over the publicized arrest of his son.

The Record-Journal reports that Christopher Dingwell and his son, Christopher Jr., filed notice last week that stated the family is seeking “compensation and indemnification” from the city.

The younger Dingwell was arrested last March on charges including possession of a facsimile firearm and carrying a dangerous weapon.

A news release announcing Dingwell’s arrest was posted on the department’s Facebook page.

The intent to sue says publicizing the incident was an attempt “to cause embarrassment” to father and son.

Chief Jeffry Cossette says his department routinely uses social media to highlight the work of its officers.

City attorney Deborah Moore couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Facebook post on the Meriden Police Department page reads in full:

On Sunday, March 27, 2016, at around 1:15 a.m., Meriden police officers were dispatched to the area of Glen Hills Road for the report of a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival into the area, the first officer on scene observed the vehicle which was occupied by multiple people. Upon seeing the police cruiser, the driver began to drive away from the officer with no headlights on. As it was moving, one officer observed an occupant inside the car reach out of the vehicle. The occupant was seen throwing an unidentified item up and over the roof of the car. The item was thrown completely over the roof towards the passenger side of the car and the item landed somewhere on the lawn of one of the nearby homes on the opposite side of the roadway.

The vehicle was stopped and officers identified four adult male occupants and one 17-year-old male occupant. As the investigating officer and his backup officer began speaking with the occupants, several other officers arrived on scene to assist, including Officer Buck and his canine partner Anouke. Upon reviewing the in-car camera video on scene, the canine officer was able to determine the area in which the object was thrown from the car. The officer’s canine then began a search of the area and in under a minute’s time, the dog located a firearm up against a fence on the lawn of a home approximately ten yards away from the suspect’s car.

All of the occupants were removed from the car and searched for weapons. No weapons were located on their person(s); however, a pair of brass knuckles and a ski mask was also located inside the vehicle. Further investigation led to the arrest of two of the five occupants.

It was determined that the rear seat passenger on the driver’s side of the car, identified as Christopher Dingwell, had thrown the firearm from the car. The firearm was determined to be a facsimile firearm. Dingwell (D.O.B. 01/13/98), of 95 Ridgefield Street in Meriden, was charged with Possession of a Facsimile Firearm, Weapons in a Motor Vehicle, Tampering with Evidence, Carrying a Dangerous Weapon, and Conspiracy to Carry a Dangerous Weapon. He was released on a $2,500.00 bond and has a court date of 04/11/16.

Also arrested was Tracy Rumley (D.O.B. 08/16/96) of 27 Randolph Avenue, #2, Meriden. He was charged with Conspiracy to Carry a Dangerous Weapon. He was released on a $2,500.00 bond and also has a court date of 04/11/16.