Cop’s widow drops lawsuit against police

A widow who blamed local authorities for the suicide of her husband, a former Grand Junction police officer who was facing rape allegations, has dropped a federal lawsuit.

Florida resident Michelle Coyne, through her Denver attorney, filed a series of motions in recent weeks dismissing all claims against law enforcement officials and entities involved in Glenn Coyne’s arrest and firing by the Grand Junction Police Department in October 2009.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the claims can’t be brought again.

All sides agreed to pay their own costs.

Reasons behind the dismissal were not specified in court filings.

No financial settlement was reached, according to Alan Hassler and Sarah McCutcheon, attorneys who represented Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, two Sheriff’s Department investigators, Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper, and the city of Grand Junction.

Brice Tondre, an attorney for Michelle Coyne, confirmed his client dropped the matter but declined comment beyond court filings.

According to a Jan. 18 filing, the dismissal came after a meeting on Jan. 4 between Tondre and an attorney representing the woman who allegedly was sexually assaulted by Glenn Coyne.

During the meeting, “certain undisputed facts” were disclosed to Tondre, who soon after filed a joint motion to dismiss the case.

Filed on Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court in Denver, Michelle Coyne’s lawsuit named Camper, the city of Grand Junction, Hilkey and Sheriff’s Department investigators Henry Stoffel and Dick Dillon.

Among specific claims, the lawsuit alleged the agencies were responsible for Coyne’s wrongful death. He committed suicide in a Front Range hotel room five days after his arrest on Oct. 1, 2009, on suspicion of sexual assault.

The lawsuit alleged Sheriff’s Department investigators had doubts about the alleged victim’s claims of sexual assault, but moved forward with a criminal prosecution anyway.

Coyne’s alleged victim has her own pending federal lawsuit against Camper, former Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner, police Sgt. William Baker and 10 other unnamed employees in the department.


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