The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a public records request seeking answers to questions surrounding the so-called Cranston parking ticket scandal.
The wards of two Cranston city councilors were blanketed with parking tickets the day after they voted against a police union contract. The police captain who authorized the ticketing has now stepped forward to publicly identify himself.
The ACLU is asking for all phone records, radio conversations or memos issued by Captain Stephen Antonucci between November 13th and November 16th, 2013. In a report published in the Providence Journal, Antonucci identified himself as the person responsible for a sharp increase in the number of parking tickets issued those days.
All but nine of the 137 tickets issued within that 48 hour time period targeted cars parked in two wards represented by city councilors who had just voted against a police contract. Both councilors have accused Cranston police of targeting their wards in retaliation for their votes.
The ACLU’s Steve Brown said they have received tips suggesting that Antonucci used his personal cell phone to issue at least some of the directives.
“What we’re trying to find out is whether personal resources were used by police officers in conducting this ticketing blitz which would raise real questions as to whether this was a retaliatory move or whether it was done on the up and up, that was done using regular police resources so that at least there’s a record of what happened, when it happened and who did it,” said Brown.
The police captain has denied any retaliatory motive, saying it was just part of a campaign aimed at cracking down on illegal overnight on-street parking. But he hasn’t explained why two of the six wards in Cranston were far more heavily ticketed than the others.
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