Former Meriden police captain files federal lawsuit against city, chief over alleged police brutality video

MERIDEN – There are new legal troubles for the Meriden Police Department after a video showed police brutality.

It sparked a firestorm and it led to the police chief’s son being convicted of a federal offense. Another former officer is suing the department and the city and has claimed he was fired as an act of retribution for testifying about that video.

Patrick Gaynor, former police captain, worked at the police department for 20 years. An eight-page complaint described how Gaynor held several positions and worked his way up to a captain. In 2010, Gaynor discovered the video of the brutality and that is when his career was shrouded in controversy.

“You can see him rushing into the cell and going after the guy. It’s really awful because he’s helpless,” said Attorney John Williams.

The video showed Officer Evan Cossette, the police chief’s son, assaulting his prisoner.

It led to a federal criminal prosecution of Cossette where he was tried before a jury. Gaynor testified as a witness in the trial where ultimately, Cossette was convicted and sentenced to prison.

“An officer beating up a prisoner in a locked cell. He did his duty, he disclosed that video,” added Williams.

It was after the conviction when things began to change quickly for Gaynor.

“There was a pattern of retaliation that began,” added Gaynor.

Last September, Gaynor was asked to report to the chief’s office where he was told he was going to be placed on administrative leave. Gaynor handed over his gun, badge, ID card, keys and department vehicle.

Two months later, Gaynor returned to work but was placed on administrative leave again in December. He remained on leave until his employment was terminated last week.

The complaint also stated in 2012, Gaynor was one of eight public safety officials in the country to be selected by President Barack Obama to serve on the Medal of Valor Committee.

“Well, it’s a devastating experience to lose a career like this and to lose a career of this kind because you testified in a federal criminal court trial on behalf of the prosecution,” added Williams.

Attorney John Williams said the chief is now trying to take away Gaynor’s certification so he cannot find another job at other police departments.

As a result, Williams mentioned this ongoing controversy has caused Gaynor to suffer from serious emotional distress. FOX61 did stop by the Meriden Police Department to speak to the chief but was told he was unavailable.

Williams said a federal judge has been assigned to the trail but as for a date, he said it will not start until about two years.