Former Meriden police captain loses second appeal of his firing

Former Meriden police captain loses second appeal of his firing

MERIDEN — Former Meriden Police Captain Patrick Gaynor was fired for just cause and failed to prove that corruption had any part in it, a civil court has ruled.

New Haven Superior Court Judge Robert E. Young dismissed Gaynor’s appeal and reaffirmed a March 2020 ruling by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration that upheld the city’s decision to fire Gaynor in June 2017. 

Young’s eight-page decision indicated Gaynor erred in dismissing his attorney and representing himself.

“Despite lengthy argument and hundreds of pages of filings, Gaynor has failed to establish that the award [board’s ruling] was procured by corruption, fraud or undue means,” Young wrote. “He has shown no evident partiality or corruption on the part of any arbitrator. There is no assertion that the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct.”

Gaynor disagreed with the judge’s ruling.

“I felt that the hearing went well,” Gaynor said this past week. “I submitted the issues that occurred during the hearing as well as some of the information that was concealed from the arbitrators and I think that the judge didn’t discuss some of those things in his ruling.”

Gaynor, who started with the department in 1996, was fired after several internal and external investigations found he violated department policy by making several "reckless" and "untruthful" allegations against then-Police Chief Jeffry Cossette “all in his quest to bring down (Cossette)."

Gaynor alleged that Cossette over the years had treated him unfairly as vengeance for his role in the criminal trial of Cossette's son, Evan Cossette. The younger Cossette is a former Meriden police officer who served 14 months in prison after video showed him pushing an inmate into a concrete bench in a holding cell. 

The arbitration panel held 12 hearings from November 2017 to May 2019 before finding against Gaynor in a decision released on March 10.

Young found little to argue with in the board’s decision. He said that in choosing to re-argue the case to the court that he brought before the board, Gaynor was taking the court outside its purview. 

In asserting that the board failed to properly sequester witnesses, and that the arbitrators believed the wrong witnesses, “Gaynor has not supported either of these arguments with evidence,” Young wrote.

Young called the particularity with which the arbitration board described Gaynor’s lack of credibility “quite stunning,” but said the details were warranted given that Gaynor was a police officer, “a position that requires unassailable honesty.”

Gaynor’s former attorney, Daniel Esposito, said after the board’s ruling that Gaynor might have been inaccurate with some of his statements but that there was “no deliberate deception” on Gaynor’s part.

Gaynor said he plans to appeal the Superior Court ruling to the appellate court in Hartford.

nsambides@record-journal.com203-317-2279Twitter: @JrSambides

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