Weare settlement with fired police sergeant sealed by court

Monitor staff
Published: 10/2/2018 3:38:16 PM

The town of Weare reached a settlement agreement with fired police sergeant Joseph Kelley last week over a secret personnel file kept in the town administrator’s office that violated a previous settlement between the officer and the town.

The case between Kelley, who collected $171,000 from a 2015 settlement stemming from his 2013 firing, and the town was set for a jury hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester on Thursday.

The parties agreed to settle, but details of the settlement were sealed by the court and unavailable for public inspection.

The Monitor asked for details of the settlement, and the town, through its lawyers at Ransmeier & Spellman of Concord, released the following statement: “The Court order resolving the case was filed under seal by the Court. Thus, the Town cannot disclose it or discuss its contents and it is exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A,” also known as the right-to-know law.

Kelley was fired in 2013, three months after Weare police shot and killed Alex Cora DeJesus in a failed drug bust that the attorney general’s office later reported was “ill-conceived.” The town eventually settled with DeJesus’s family for $300,000.

Kelley was at the scene of the shooting and later claimed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and collected workers’ compensation.

Kelley brought a federal lawsuit against the town in November 2015 that was settled with a payout of $260,000, of which $89,000 was paid to his attorneys.

In addition to the payment, the town agreed to remove from his personnel file “any reference to the events giving rise to (the 2014) lawsuit and any disciplinary action imposed by the Town,” according to court documents.

The documents removed from the personnel file were kept in a separate file locked in the office of Town Administrator Naomi Bolton. The file was later given to town counsel on March 20 of this year.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321.)

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