Block says state police report on Cranston PD backs up his campaign comments

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s political opponent in last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary said Friday Fung would have lost if a scathing report on the city’s police department had been released during the campaign.

Barrington businessman Ken Block – who also runs WatchdogRI.org, an advocacy group – brought up the June 2014 debate on WPRI 12, where he claimed Fung’s handling of the police crisis should “be a disqualifying factor” for Fung to be governor.

“I believe that what came out in the state police report backs up that statement,” Block said during Friday’s taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers.

Earlier this month the Rhode Island State Police issued a highly critical 182-page report – commissioned by Fung last year – that argued that “most of the [Cranston Police] Department’s troubles can be attributed to the poor leadership by the Department’s top officers, political interference and influence by Mayor Fung and members of his administration.”

During a taping of Newsmakers last week, Fung denied that he politically interfered in the department.

Asked if he felt he would have won the primary if the report was released before voters went to the polls last year, Block said, “I believe very strongly I would have been, yes.”

“I’m certainly disappointed it took so long for the report to come out,” Block said. “Frankly if I had that kind of thing in my background I never would have run in the first place.”

Block lost to Fung in the September primary by 10 percentage points, or roughly 3,000 votes.

The Cranston City Council plans to hold a no-confidence vote on the mayor next week. Block declined to weigh in on calls for Fung to step down.

“I think it’s really up to the voters of that city to decide what it is they want to do or not do,” he said. “I think they have to look at how much this has cost, how effective the mayor can be moving forward and whether they want that kind of governance moving into the future.”

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

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