EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 17, 2013

Former detective sues police department

Lawsuit alleges he was falsely accused

By Doug Ireland

---- — PLAISTOW — A former Plaistow police detective has sued the department, claiming top police officials falsely accused him of misconduct in an attempt to fire him.

Nicolas Fiset, now a member of the Atkinson Police Department, also alleges Plaistow police Chief Stephen Savage and Deputy Chief Kathleen Jones asked that he be placed on the state’s Laurie List.

The list includes the names of police officers whose credibility could be questioned if they are asked to testify about a case. Fiset is seeking an injunction to have Rockingham County Attorney James Reams remove his name from the list.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Rockingham Superior Court, also seeks unspecified damages. Savage, Jones, Reams and the town are all named as defendants.

Fiset, a former police union representative, alleges Savage and Jones launched a campaign to discredit and fire him because he often criticized their policies. Fiset also arrested Jones’s stepfather on a driving while intoxicated charge, the lawsuit said.

The detective accuses Jones of “illegally and maliciously” presenting false information about him to the town of Atkinson. The allegations have caused Fiset to suffer severe emotional distress and financial losses, the lawsuit said.

Fiset also said that before he joined the Plaistow Police Department, his mother — a former town selectman — was involved in disciplining Savage and Jones. The lawsuit does not say why they were disciplined.

The detective accuses the two police officials of saying he falsely reported an automobile stop June 17, 2011, and then launching a “bogus investigation” of the matter. The lawsuit does not go into further detail.

Four months later, Savage and Jones asked Reams to place Fiset on the Laurie List as a result of their investigation, the lawsuit said.

“The Plaistow defendants never gave plaintiff Nicolas Fiset an opportunity to contest their fabricated charges nor was plaintiff Nicolas Fiset even notified that a Laurie Letter was sent to defendant James Reams,” the lawsuit said.

Neither Fiset nor his attorney, Lawrence Vogelman, could be reached yesterday for comment. Reams said he could not comment on Laurie List issues.

Savage and Jones also could not be reached for comment. Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said he could not speak about pending litigation, referring questions to the town’s attorney, Mark Broth, who could not be reached.

Fiset was one of three veteran Plaistow officers who joined the Atkinson Police Department in October 2011, leaving after many years. The three included Patrick Caggiano, who has since been promoted from sergeant to chief.