Police in Cranston, RI issue 128 parking tickets to constituents in precincts where councilman voted against a pay increase for police officers while only 9 were issued throughout the rest of the city. Truly Protecting and Serving.
"Cranston Police are currently investigating their own department after two city councilman alleged the police issued more than 100 parking tickets in their wards after the councilors voted against a
proposed police contract.
Ward 3 Councilman Paul Archetto told WPRO’s Matt Allen that he noticed an unusual amount of parking tickets on cars on a street in his ward the morning after the vote.
“At that point I felt something out of the ordinary occurred,” said Archetto, saying the bright orange parking tickets caught his eye.
At a Cranston City Council meeting Monday evening, Archetto and fellow councilor Steven Stycos (Ward 1) made their allegations public.
They said they requested information from the city administration to corroborate their estimate that the number of tickets was unusually high, and found the police had issued 62 tickets in Archetto’s ward and 66 in Stycos’ ward the day after the vote. Only 9 tickets had been issued throughout the rest of the city.
“A blatant message was definitely sent,” said Archetto.
Archetto said the average number of parking tickets issued in Cranston on a daily basis is between 4 and 5.
Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palumbo told WPRO Tuesday afternoon that they began their investigation into the allegations more than a week ago.
"I’m obviously troubled by the allegations," Palumbo said. "We hold ourselves to a higher standard than that and we want the public to confidence in us and know that we’re looking out for them."
In addition to the tickets in their wards, Archetto also said he and Stycos received anonymous letters they believed to be sent from inside the police department.
“[The] rights of my constituents – their constitutional rights – have been breached, and also council members have been intimidated,” said Archetto. “It’s an abuse of police power.”
Archetto said he believes someone higher in the ranks gave the orders to blanket the wards with tickets.
"There has to be someone up in rank to order two separate districts that are coordinated separately by two separate offices and those offices acted in unison,” said Archetto. “It had to come from a high ranking level.”
Palumbo said they will look to determine if any harassment has occurred, and will take the appropriate disciplinary action if necessary.
"At this juncture we’re simply looking at the facts and the circumstances," he said, adding, "I don't want to speculate on what might be."
After learning about the allegations, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung released this statement late Tuesday morning:
“First of all, if these allegations turn out to be true, I want the residents of Cranston to be assured that I do not condone any type of intimidating behavior by any city employees.
Once my administration became aware of the situation, we contacted the appropriate authorities who then initiated an investigation.
Because this is an ongoing active investigation, I cannot discuss this any further. As a former Prosecutor, I have to respect the sensitive nature of an investigation and I would not want any public
comments to jeopardize or taint it in any way.”
Fung joined WPRO's Dan Yorke to say he and the city administration would "not jump to any conclusions," but would "take the appropriate steps to investigate [the allegations] thoroughly."
"We’re not sitting on our hands on this, Dan, but the facts are going to come out and...we’re going to base our decision on what the facts [are]," he said. "
By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
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