I-Team: Lawyer for Cranston police captain in ticket blitz speaks out
CRANSTON, R.I. — Cranston Mayor Allan Fung wants Capt. Stephen Antonucci fired for ordering a blitz of more than 100 parking tickets in two City Council wards in November.
But now, Antonucci is firing back through his lawyer, Bill Conley, calling Thursday's press conference a violation of Rhode Island law.
"My concern is whether or not this entire investigative process was fair at all when the people involved in the process make a conscious decision to violate the law," Conley said.
Conley said the mayor and the state police should not have commented publicly on the investigation.
But Col. Steven O'Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police told NBC 10 that Antonucci threw his right to confidentiality out the window when he talked to the media months earlier.
Also, police union lawyer Joe Rodio claims the mayor tried to demote Antonucci so he could promote a female lieutenant who sued the city for discrimination, and take care of another captain who's been out on paid leave for the past two years. The captain threatened to sue the city for racketeering and extortion.
"Trying to extort Antonucci to take the demotion is criminal," Rodio told NBC 10 over the phone.
Fung released a statement saying, "I can assure the public that these allegations are completely baseless."
O'Donnell told NBC 10 there's no connection between other problems inside the Cranston Police Department and the ticket scandal.
"I think I'd respond that he's way off base. It's an independent investigation. We would never allow it not to be independent. The cards just fell where they fell," he said.
Antonucci admitted ordering the parking tickets, but said he was responding to concerns from residents and council members.
Councilman Steve Stycos disagreed.
"Neither one of us ever asked for all the cars to be ticketed in only our neighborhoods, and not other neighborhoods. The law doesn't get enforced by ward.
The other councilman involved in the ticket blitz, Paul Archetto, told NBC 10 by phone he still believes the tickets were retaliation for their votes against a proposed police contract in November.
Even so, Archetto said he's "saddened" by the decision to go after Antonucci's job.