Another Weare police suit settled
In addition to an undisclosed monetary settlement, Weare Police Chief John D. Velleca provided a written apology to Weare resident William Alleman, who had maintained he was exercising his First Amendment rights when he videotaped his interaction with Officer Brandon Montplaisir during a traffic stop in July 2011.
The New Hampshire suits cite the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in August 2011 that Boston police violated the rights of attorney Simon Glik when they arrested him for taping the arrest of a man on Boston Common and charged him with felony wiretapping.
But the real goal was to obtain an acknowledgement that the police behavior was wrong and to find a way to bring about change. The settlement does that, said Hipple.
The town has had its insurance premiums hiked dramatically as a result of the financial payouts by its insurance company on lawsuits.
Shortly after Velleca started his job last November, he fired Sgt. Joseph Kelley for allegedly violating department policies and procedures. Kelley, who was cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspected drug dealer, who was shot in the back of the head as he fled a botched drug buy sting. Kelley had gone on leave, claiming post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being present.
The settlement of a lawsuit by the parents of the Manchester man who was killed resulted in a $300,000 payment by the town’s insurer to the parents, who live in Puerto Rico.Change in the Weare Police Department began when elected police Chief Gregory Begin retired May 30, 2013, and Officer Lt. James Carney, who had been placed on administrative leave by selectmen in March 2013, for allegedly violating departmental polices, retired July 1, 2013.Velleca, who was hired by selectmen, had retired in 2011 as acting police chief in New Haven, Conn. He said Tuesday that he has made significant changes since his arrival. Among them is ensuring members of the department, all full-time officers now, are “very rights conscious.”
That video and audio evidence will be kept in the new evidence room.
It’s part of making sure Weare police are meeting industry standards, along with making the officers all full-time, using body cameras and focusing on ensuring citizens’ rights as well as enforcing laws.
“We tried to make it kind of user friendly,” he said, including a graph showing the officers activities each month. The most recent month posted online is May, but Velleca said June statistics should be posted within a few days.