Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Cranston Mayor Has Problem With Cops

Isn't he a Republican?

"State police report prompts apology from Cranston mayor" by Amy Anthony Associated Press  August 08, 2015

CRANSTON, R.I. — A scathing state police report that accused Cranston Mayor Allan Fung of interfering with a police department disciplinary action has led to an apology by the mayor, as well as a disagreement with the former police chief.

The 182-page report released Monday said that during his run for governor last year, Fung publicly supported disciplinary action against a city police captain, then worked behind the scenes to reduce the discipline and delay announcing it until after the election.

On Wednesday, Fung acknowledged that he had made mistakes in how he handled the police department following an alleged ticketing scheme, but said he was misled by the department’s leaders, in particular former Cranston police chief Colonel Marco Palombo.

Fung said he didn’t realize problems at the Cranston Police Department were as bad as they turned out to be.

‘‘I placed that trust in Colonel Palombo and later found out he had let me down,’’ Fung said. ‘‘I realize he misled me and jeopardized the credibility of the entire department.’’

Palombo said in a statement Wednesday that he never misled the mayor or anyone else.

Fung has asked the Rhode Island State Police to investigate the Cranston Police Department after more than 100 citations were issued in January 2014 in the wards of two city councilors who voted against a police union contract. Palombo was placed on paid administrative leave.

In the assessment released Monday, the report accused Fung and his staff of interfering in the police department.

‘‘The ticketing incident was unacceptable, and under no circumstances did I try to politicize it,’’ Fung said.

State Police determined that Captain Stephen Antonucci had orchestrated the ticketing blitz and lied about his involvement, prompting Fung to place Antonucci on paid administrative leave in April 2014. Six months later, Fung appointed Michael Winquist as the new police chief, replacing Palombo, who had since retired.

The State Police report said that immediately following Winquist’s appointment, Fung asked for Winquist’s support in reinstating Antonucci.

Fung, who was elected mayor in 2008, was the Republican nominee for governor of Rhode Island at the time.

On Wednesday, Fung said he had tried to bring Antonucci back to avoid costly litigation. But State Police Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell wrote in the report that he felt Fung was attempting to ‘‘avoid any public scrutiny associated with this private agreement during the election cycle.’’


Also seeCranston City Council head questions mayor on police scandal

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