Officials call for further questioning of Fung, Cranston police

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Cranston’s Police Chief Michael Winquist said it’s time to move on from the scathing state police assessment of Mayor Allan Fung and the city’s police department – but members of the City Council and the ACLU disagree and are now calling for further questioning and investigation.

Fung apologized in a press conference Wednesday morning, acknowledging that he made mistakes, meddled in the Cranston Police Department, hid information from State Police investigators, and failed to discipline his former chief.

“I want to apologize,” he said. “I apologize to the residents of Cranston. I recognize I’m not perfect.”

“I’ll accept his apology,” said Councilman Paul Archetto, one of two councilors who claim their wards were targeted with parking tickets, triggering a series of events that led to the state police’s assessment.

But Archetto said he still has questions for Fung, which he hopes will be answered at a council meeting on Tuesday.

Archetto said he is particularly upset about private investigators being hired to follow people, which was also revealed in the report.

The councilman said he is disturbed by the “taxpayers’ money being spent on the personal whims of the police chief” and “all the abuses of police power, all the trampling of civilian civil rights, and also city employee’s rights.”

“The mayor has a lot to answer for,” he added.

The city’s police department also has a lot to answer for, according to the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization is now calling for further investigation after the report’s release.

Winquist called the 182-page report all-encompassing, saying he believes the people responsible for the internal culture of negativity and distrust are now gone – the ACLU disagrees.

In a letter addressed to city councilors, the ACLU asks for an investigation into police practices and possible abuses of power against individuals outside the department.

“The state police did their mission,” said Steven Brown, Executive Director of the Rhode Island ACLU. “They were asked to investigate particular incidents, including the so-called ‘ticket-gate’ scandal, and they did a very thorough job with it. We’re just now very concerned, after reading everything they found out, that this could just be the tip of an iceberg.”

Fung said Wednesday that he would absolutely not resign, but Archetto said that he does believe that there will eventually be a no confidence vote put before the council.

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