Cop wounded in shooting says he's being forced to retire

“They don’t give a rat’s behind about me,” the 31-year veteran said


Pat Tomlinson
The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Police Commission accepted Officer Phillip Roselle’s retirement on Monday.

While Mayor Harry Rilling said Roselle’s family was “very pleased” with the pension agreement, the retiring officer — a 31-year veteran who was shot and permanently injured in a September 2017 training accident — felt the city should do more for him.

“This is nothing but a forced retirement. I was shot by somebody who was irresponsible. I got a bullet in my chest that I can’t get rid of, and now I have kidneys that don’t work and a hand that doesn’t work — that’s what I got for 31 years of service,” Roselle said. “They don’t give a rat’s behind about me.”

The commission unanimously approved a pension settlement that granted Roselle a full pension instead of the disability pension that had previously been discussed. The pension will be effective retroactively to April 1.

The pension includes a monthly payment of $5,097.20 to Roselle for the rest of his life — a payment that will transfer to his wife if he dies — and a one-time severance package of $32,549.05.

Rilling claims the city will go a step further.

“The city has been working to ensure that the family is going to be taken care of above and beyond what you see here,” Rilling said.

Rilling declined to reveal what was being considered, but said it centered on a workers’ compensation settlement.

“From what I understand, the Roselles are very pleased with what they will be receiving with the pension and workers’ compensation benefits,” Rilling said.

Roselle, who was at dialysis and could not attend his official retirement, confirmed discussions with the city regarding a workers’ compensation settlement.

“They haven’t done anything ‘above and beyond’ for me and my family,” said Roselle, whose workers compensation benefits had previously been denied. “They basically said, ‘this is what we’re going to get, shut the heck up and move on.’”

Roselle also wouldn’t reveal the potential worth of the discussed settlement, but said he expected it to be finalized within two weeks. The settlement, he claimed, would include one lump sum of cash followed by two additional payments over 12 months.

“Whatever it is, though, it certainly won’t be enough,” he said.

Rilling said he empathized with the family’s frustrations, especially given the “extraordinary circumstances” that led to Roselle’s retirement, but also pointed out that the family would be “fairly compensated when all is said and done.”

The agreement comes more than two-and-a-half years after he was shot by his sergeant in a training range accident.

In recent months, Roselle’s wife, Debbie Roselle, has advocated for state legislation to allow municipalities to pay the difference between the disability retirement pay and regular pay rate for public safety employees who are forced to retire due to injury.

“I basically begged and pleaded for the mayor to hold off until the bill I’ve been working so hard on passes in June, but the mayor would not,” Debbie Roselle said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation, but I guess they needed to fill Phil’s spot.”

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©2019 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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