Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hearing held in Hamden police FOI matter

 HARTFORD - The town of Hamden still hasn't released the amount of a settlement in an excessive force case against Hamden police.
A hearing officer with the state Freedom of Information Commission hosted a hearing Monday, Feb. 25, in the case, as the New Haven Register lodged a complaint in October seeking the information.

Nicholas and Stephen Alberino sued several Hamden police officers in 2008 in U.S. District Court, claiming they were “brutally assaulted by a group of Hamden police officers,” in October 2007.
The lawsuit named officers William Onofrio, Angelo DeLieto, Michael DePalma, Dedric Jones, Mark Sheppard, and Michael Mello as defendants, according to the 2010 second amended complaint.
The parties reached a settlement agreement in 2012. The New Haven Register asked Town Attorney Sue Gruen and the lawyer who handled the case, Scott Karsten, for the settlement amount last August, but they have not supplied the information.
The Register is specifically seeking a copy of a document, a release after settlement, which includes the settlement amount. 
In its complaint to the Freedom of Information Commission, the Register indicated, “The public has a right to know information about a settlement involving litigation which stems from alleged misconduct by public employees. The public has a right to know the amount of a settlement, whether it was directly funded by taxpayer money, or by an insurance settlement in which coverage is paid for by taxpayers.”
At Monday's hearing, Karsten said the insurance company, CIRMA, covered the settlement, though the town was responsible for paying a deductible.
The hearing officer will prepare a proposed decision for the commission's consideration in the coming weeks.  

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