A former Shelton police officer fired last May is facing criminal drug charges.
The officer, Loren Casertano, plans to surrender to state police at the Troop I barracks in Bethany Friday afternoon, according to his lawyer, Rob Serafinowicz.
Serafinowicz claimed the arrest is retribution for battles Casertano has had with the police department.
Casertano was fired from the department in May after police said an internal investigation revealed multiple, serious violations of department rules. The investigation stemmed from his arrest for allegedly trying to extort money from his daughter’s friend over a stolen iPod.
Those charges were dismissed after Casertano was accepted into accelerated rehabilitation, a special form of probation.
Serafinowicz said Thursday state police have obtained a new warrant charging Casertano with two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance and single counts of illegal possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia, and not having a prescription in its original container.
The lawyer said the charges are based on a search of Casertano’s locker after he was fired.
Casertano was taking pain medication for an injury at the time, Serafinowicz said.
He guessed that the charge for not having a prescription in its original container may have arisen because some of the officer’s pain pills were on the floor of the locker.
“The other things I’m not so sure about,” Serafinowicz said of the other charges.
Police Chief Joel Hurliman said Thursday he hasn’t seen the new warrant.
“I haven’t seen any of the charges, so I really can’t comment,” he said.
Casertano’s fight with the department has been ongoing since at least 2008.
That’s when he was arrested for the alleged extortion involving his daughter’s stolen iPod. Click here for background.
Casertano filed a federal lawsuit against the department in 2009, alleging he was arrested for trying to expose corruption in the department.
After he was fired, Casertano fought the dismissal. He has a Department of Labor hearing scheduled for next week.
And, Casertano has a Freedom of Information complaint filed against the department, saying the department hasn’t provided him with certain reports. He is scheduled to testify at a hearing on the complaint on Monday.
Norm Pattis, the lawyer representing Casertano in a federal lawsuit against Hurliman and the city, said the new warrant is retribution for Casertano not settling his federal lawsuit this month.
“All I know is two weeks ago a lawyer for the city called us and asked what it would take to settle the case,” Pattis said. “We told them and never got a phone call back. I guess the warrant is the answer.”
Pattis would not detail the specifics of their settlement request to the city and said his client may settle still, but called the city’s action “pretty low and loathsome” while expressing confidence in his case.
“We still remain open to settling the case but if they want to resort to warfare by these means then let’s have at it,” he said.
Serafinowicz charged that the new warrant was filed because Hurliman is “worried about the federal lawsuit and he’s worried all the skeletons in his closet are going to come out.”
Hurliman said that wasn’t the case.
“We maintain integrity here and we don’t tolerate corruption,” the chief said.
A message was left Thursday afternoon with the lawyer representing the city in the federal lawsuit.