Redding settles wrongful death claim
REDDING — The town has agreed to pay a settlement to the family of Peter Valenti, who was found hanging from the rafters in a shed next to his home on Blueberry Hill Road in 2016.
James McEnery, who represents the Valenti family, said by agreement with the town he will not disclose the amount of the settlement but said that it is substantial enough to support Valenti’s young son for the rest of his life.
“The town put out significant money and the family was happy to put this behind them,” he said.
Town officials did not immediately return calls for comment.
In April 2016, the 32-year-old Valenti, who had just lost his wife and become a single-parent to his then 15-month-old son, texted friends “Call Redding Police.”
When officers arrived at Valenti’s home they found him hanging in the shed. According to the family’s lawsuit, Police Chief Douglas Fuchs ordered his officers not to get near Valenti or allow EMTs to examine the body on the grounds that it was a “crime scene.”
When the medic was finally allowed 26 minutes later to examine the body, he found that Valenti showed signs of “electrical cardiac activity.” Valenti was rushed to Danbury Hospital, but could not be revived and was pronounced dead shortly afterward, the suit states.
Fuchs was put on administrative after the lawsuit was filed and agreed to retire in June.
“We were able to reach a resolution through mediation,” McEnery said. “A lot of it had to do with the town either dismissing Fuchs or letting him retire depending on how you look at it and that meant a lot to the family. I think once they got Fuchs out of the way the town could finally put this behind it.”