NBC 10 I-Team: Charlestown detective retires after chief calls for investigation
A Charlestown police detective, who was placed on paid leave pending an internal investigation by his own police department, has now retired from the force.
Detective Sgt. Ryan Gwaltney, a 28-year veteran of the Charlestown Police Department and the union's chief negotiator, retired from the force, according to documents obtained by the NBC 10 I-Team. That retirement was on Sept. 13.
Gwaltney was cleared of any wrongdoing, Rhode Island State Police told the NBC 10 I-Team.
“There was never a criminal investigation,” Laura Meade Kirk, a Rhode Island State Police spokeswoman, told the I-Team. “The Charlestown Police Department did ask us to assist in an internal investigation, but that investigation closed when the officer retired.”
Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen confirmed Gwaltney's retirement, saying the detective retired after a 28-year career with the department.
Gwaltney could not be reached for comment, but his attorney Matthew Dawson provided the I-Team with this statement: "Officer Gwaltney is very proud of his service to the to Town of Charlestown for last 28 years," Dawson said. "Some time ago he determined it was a good time to end his service."
Placed on leave
Allen placed Gwaltney on leave on Aug. 29 after asking Rhode Island State Police to assist with an internal investigation of officers with any potential connection with the prosecution of Evan Speck, a former Charlestown officer who pleaded guilty to money laundering, possession of steroids and distribution of misbranded drugs charges on Aug. 18.
“I asked the Rhode Island State Police to investigate to see if anyone other than Speck was involved in criminal activity,” Allen told the NBC 10 I-Team after Gwaltney was placed on leave.
Allen said he personally wrote to state police superintendent Col. Ann Assumpico asking for her assistance in investigating the department.
Allen would not say whether state police actually conducted an investigation, saying only: “I asked Rhode Island State Police to investigate for potential criminality, they said they would.”
Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz told the Westerly Sun at that time that the Rhode Island State Police was in fact investigating potential criminal activity that may have involved one or more members of the police department. Stankiewicz, however, later told the I-Team that state police was asked to investigate.
“Chief sends up letter to Rhode Island State Police saying we’d like you to investigate,” Stankiewicz told the NBC 10 I-Team. “Whether they did one I don’t know maybe I misspoke and that’s the facts.”
Charlestown town solicitor Peter Ruggiero did not return our requests for comment.