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Redding Police Chief Placed On Leave After Lawsuit Is Filed Over Suicide

Redding Police Chief Doug Fuchs with the puppy he rasised last year to be a guide dog for the blind.
Redding Police Chief Doug Fuchs with the puppy he rasised last year to be a guide dog for the blind. Photo Credit: Contributed

REDDING, Conn. — Redding Police Chief Doug Fuchs was placed on administrative leave after a lawsuit was filed over the department's response to a suicide last year, according to the News-Times .

The decision was made by the Board of Selectmen in an emergency meeting Monday night in response to the lawsuit claiming police negligence in the death of Peter Valenti III, the News-Times said.

Related story: Family Sues Redding Police, Alleges Negligence At Scene Of Suicide

First Selectman Julia Pemberton said the police department is prepared to serve the town in Fuch's absence.

The lawsuit claims the Redding Police Department and Fuchs did not to follow protocols when responding to an emergency call at Valenti's home.

Redding officers went to the Blueberry Hill Road home on April 11, 2016, after Valenti sent multiple text messages to friends seeking police help.

An account of the police response from Patch.com includes shocking details.

Valenti, 32, had been depressed since the death of his wife a month earlier from an asthma attack, leaving him as the sole parent to their 15-month-old son, the News-Times said.

Officers eventually found Valenti hanging by a noose in the shed, but the lawsuit says that officers didn’t immediately check his vital signs — waiting for about 15 minutes, the News-Times said.

When examining Valenti, paramedics detected a heart beat, but he died later at Danbury Hospital, the News-Times said.

Patch.com detailed the actions of the Redding officers that day, reviewing body-camera video recorded by officers, police records, and a complaint filed by the first emergency medical technician on the scene.

The officer who found Valenti first thought it was a "dummy hanging by a noose," Patch.com said.

Fuchs initially stopped an EMT from examining Valenti because it was a "crime scene," Patch.com said. It took 34 minutes from the arrival of the first officer until Valenti was checked, Patch.com said.

Click here and click here for the stories at the News-Times. Click here for the story at Patch.com, which includes body-cam videos.

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