EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The city’s annual Christmas tree lighting at the Crescent Park Carousel was missing one expected guest Sunday.
Rhode Island’s famed “Dancing Cop,” Tony Lepore was planning on making an appearance in East Providence, after saying he has been hired to dance and direct traffic there this holiday season.
However, the city’s mayor tells Eyewitness News Lepore’s hiring is up to a city council vote on Tuesday.
It’s “an expansion of doing something for the holiday,” says Mayor Thomas Rose, Jr. “Nothing to do with any of the issues that are going on. East Providence is a good city. Mr. Lepore has done his dancing in the city of Providence for 30 years, and that’s it. It’s nothing more than that.”
Mayor Rose’s comments referred to Lepore’s former position, as a Providence patrolman.
Lepore was barred from continuing to spread his holiday cheer in Providence this year after he organized a boycott against a Federal Hill Dunkin Donuts employee who wrote “Black Lives Matter” on a cop’s coffee cup.
Eyewitness News spoke with Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare earlier this month regarding Lepore’s firing, who says, “he agitated things and he was in support of a movement and you can’t be doing that as a representative of the Providence Police.”
According to Mayor Rose, if Lepore’s hiring is approved Tuesday, it will be solely about spreading seasonal cheer, not his personal affiliations.
Lepore canceled his appearance at Sunday’s Christmas tree lighting after hearing about a planned protest by activists with the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Lepore wrote: “this decision I make today will not hurt my chances of doing the Christmas Event in E. P. because today I am worried about the safety of the children and there families.”