Lawsuits planned in ticket controversy

Lawsuits planned in Cranston ticket controversy

CRANSTON, RI (WPRI) – The attorney who represents Cranston’s police union plans on filing a pair of lawsuits connected to a parking ticket controversy that prompted a state police investigation.

Investigators are looking into claims that 128 parking tickets were written in the wards of two councilmembers who voted against a police labor contract.

Joe Rodio claims the tickets were written following complaints about illegal overnight parking. He showed Target 12 a stack of documents, including copies of several emails that Rodio claims indicate Captain Steven Antonucci was asked several times for the department to crack down on parking violators.

One email referenced councilman Steven Stycos.

“Councilman Stykos contacted the mayor’s office and essentially demanded that a particular car be tagged for overnight parking,” Rodio said.

Rodio claims councilman David Archetto called Captain Antonucci.

“He telephoned Captain Antonucci and he specifically demanded that tickets be issued, not once or twice but several times,” Rodio said.

Archetto and Stycos claimed the tickets were retaliation for their November 14 votes against the police labor contract. They pointed out that while their districts were blanketed with tickets during the 48 hours after the vote, only a handful of parking tickets were written in the rest of the city.

Archetto and Stycos cast two of the four no votes by the city council finance committee that stopped the contract from moving onto the full council. Rodio says that vote is unconstitutional.

“A minority of the council obstructed the rights of the majority of the citizens of the city of Cranston. They had a right through the nine councilmen to hear the contract and vote it up or down,” Rodio said.

Rodio also showed us documents that he said show the number of parking tickets in Cranston has been dropping drastically. He claims Archetto and Stycos wanted more tickets written to slow the decline in tickets, and to help stop rampant overnight parking violations in their wards.

Rodio’s second lawsuit will name a number of officers who Rodio claims were defamed by the retaliation charge.

“The officers did nothing wrong. They wrote tickets for people who deserved tickets, at the insistence of two councilmen,” Rodio said.

Rodio expects to file the first lawsuit by next week, but plans on filing the defamation suit after the state police investigation is completed.

Archetto told Target 12 he will not comment until he sees the lawsuits. Stycos did not return our phone calls.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau

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