I-Team: Cranston detective files federal lawsuit

Capt. Todd Patalano

A Cranston police detective has filed a federal lawsuit against Mayor Allan Fung, a former police chief and other officers for allegedly violating his civil rights.

Captain Todd Patalano claims former police Chief Marco Palombo and his command staff abused their power, trumped up charges against him, and that Fung as the city's public safety commissioner failed to take action and watched as it continued for years.

The mayor's office told NBC 10 it has not seen the lawsuit and that it had not yet been served to them.

Patalano was placed on administrative leave for 21 months by former police Palombo relating to 11 charges against him for handling civilian complaints.

"It was an attempt by a police administration to take out, if I can use those words, somebody they saw as a threat," Joseph Penza, Patalano's attorney told NBC 10 in May.

Patalano claims he was the target of the chief and began recording conversations to prove his innocence. The detective alleges his superiors embarked on bogus internal affairs investigations against him and on one occasion, alleges Palombo ordered a patrolman to change and official police report in an attempt to fabricate evidence against Patalano.

Fung brought in the Rhode Island State Police after the city's parking ticket scandal, and placed Palombo on leave. Palombo retired months later and Patalano was reinstated. All charges against the detective were dropped.

However, Fung is named in the lawsuit, for being aware of the situation and letting it continue for nearly two years. Fung defended his decisions in an interview in May.

"One of the things that I did ask the state police to do once they first came in to Cranston was to do a top-to-bottom assessment of the police department but also review a lot of personnel issues particularly this issue with Capt. Patalano to give me an objective assessment of what was really going on," he said.

Between a $100,000 a year salary, city legal fees, Patalano's own legal fees, the case of an officer fighting to keep his job amounts to nearly $500,000.

And there are other cases pending against the city by way of the police department including a gender discrimination suit.

Fung is a Republican candidate for governor.