Weare police shooting settlement a surprise
Weare town officials left it up to the town’s insurer to settle claims stemming from the August 2013 police killing of drug dealer Alex Cora deJesus, and now the town will likely face higher premiums, said Selectman Chairman Tom Clow.
Clow said selectmen weren’t involved in the discussions and didn’t know about the $300,000 settlement agreement until reading about it in the newspapers. On Friday evening, the lawyer representing the town in the case left a message on the selectmen’s telephone; it was picked up Monday, Clow said.
Because Primex pays claims, it’s up to the insurer to decide how to handle the claim, he said.
“I guess I can say I’m just glad it’s behind us,” Clow said. “No doubt it will reflect on our premium from Primex.”
On Aug. 14, Weare police Officer Nicholas Nadeau shot and killed deJesus, a Manchester resident, during an undercover drug deal that had gone bad.
Two months ago, New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster said an investigation was unable to find that Nadeau was justified in shooting deJesus. Prosecutors twice brought the investigation before a grand jury, but they said they could not reach a conclusion about what happened, given conflicting witness statements and a lack of corroborating evidcence.
Primex released the six-page settlement agreement on Monday. Both of deJesus’ parents signed it in Puerto Rico, where they live.
“The purpose of this release is to ‘buy peace’ from further dispute and controversy between and among” the DeJesus family and Weare, the settlement reads. It also includes a confidentiality clause.
Lawyers for both the DeJesus estate and Primex were cautious about what they could say, citing the confidentiality agreement.
The lawyer for the DeJesus estate, Larry Vogelman of the Nixon, Vogelman law firm, ruled out the idea of having Nadeau fired as part of the settlement.
“That’s really no way in a settlement that you’d be able to do that,” Vogelman said. “What happens to him is technically private.”
Clow said Nadeau remains a police officer in the town, which he said he’s OK with. He said he never had an issue with Nadeau before the deJesus matter, and the town police department has changed since October, when John Velleca took over as police chief.
“You will see that in the months and years ahead, we have a different department, a different atmosphere, a different level of respect between the department and the community.” But he said it will take time.