Chief Marco Palumbo of the Cranston Police Department said Tuesday he began an internal investigation into alleged excessive parking tickets being issued as retribution of a rejected police contract as a result of an inquiry from the NBC 10 I-Team two weeks ago.
A source within the Cranston Police Department told the I-Team that apparently the head of the police union, Stephen Antonucci, either asked or ordered officers in Ward 1 and Ward 3 to issue overnight parking tickets on as many cars as they could find, just one day after the city council's Finance Committee rejected a proposed police contract.
The two councilmen who helped to defeat the contract proposal represent Wards 1 and 3.
"We are going to conduct a thorough investigation and interview all the officers who worked that night," Palumbo said.
The I-Team made a public records request two weeks ago for all tickets issued before and after the council vote on the contract.
The numbers show that on the day before the Nov. 14 vote, 18 overnight parking tickets were issued in Ward 1 and Ward 3. But for the three days following the vote rejecting the proposed contract, 106 overnight parking tickets were issued in those same wards.
Overnight parking is banned in Cranston, but police sources said for the most part, tickets for overnight parking are rarely issued.
Asked if the union president either asked or ordered police officers in those wards to issue more tickets than they normally would, Palumbo would only say he's investigating the matter.
The union president couldn't be reached for comment.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung issued a statement saying if the tickets were issued as retribution that it is "something I do not condone."