Brown professor accused of berating Providence cop

Providence Police Officer Mike Matracia.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Brown University professor is accused of telling a Providence police officer who suffers from multiple sclerosis he deserves to be in his wheelchair following an argument over an alleged parking violation.

According to an incident report obtained by Target 12, Officer Michael Matracia claims professor Stefano Bloch’s car was blocking a driveway near a restaurant on Federal Hill around 7 a.m. on April 18.

When Matracia, who was not in uniform when the incident occurred, informed Bloch of the violation, he claims Bloch told him to “call the police. Then Bloch allegedly threatened to contact Police Chief Hugh Clements and a captain in the department. After Matracia called parking enforcement to ticket Bloch’s car, he claims Bloch gave him the middle finger and then got in his face.

Matracia claims Bloch told his children, “this is why we do not like cops” and then told him he deserves to be in the wheelchair.

Reached by email this week, Bloch denied he made the comments. He then filed a complaint with the police department’s office of professional responsibility.

Bloch’s account of the incident differs from Matracia’s claims.

According to his report, Bloch claims his car was sticking into a driveway of an abandoned building on Washington Street while he let his wife and three children out of the car. Bloch claims Matracia’s yelling “immediately caused my 6-year-old daughter to fall off the curb and bloody her knee.”

Bloch claims he told Matracia he didn’t care about the ticket because he was concerned about his children. He claims Matracia called him a “loser” and said “I bet you can’t afford a ticket. I bet you don’t even have a job.” He acknowledged that he called Matracia a “prick” during their exchange, but claims Matracia told his son, “your dad is a prick.”

In a statement, Brian, Clark, a spokesperson for Brown, declined to say whether the police department contacted the university about the incident.

“What I can share is this: In the event that law enforcement officials were to make us aware of an issue involving an employee, we would assess the details in consideration of the University’s policies,” Clark said.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan