NBC 10 I-Team: Trillo struck Mattiello with caulking gun in 1975, police report notes
Cranston police have released documents detailing a 1975 incident involving gubernatorial candidate Joseph Trillo, and then 13-year-old Nick Mattiello, who is currently Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
The documents include a police report and witness statements from 43 years ago. They indicate that during a neighborhood argument on Surrey Drive in July 1975, Trillo struck Mattiello three times in the head with a caulking gun.
The future speaker also said Trillo tried to scare him by driving too close to him with a car.
A teenage Mattiello penned his own statement to police, telling them Trillo said, "I'll beat the (expletive) out of you and after he said I'll get two (N-words) after you to crush your bones.”
But Mattiello told NBC 10 News earlier this week that he didn't really remember the incident well, but later made up with his older neighbor.
“He was a good neighbor,” Matiello said. “I liked him as a neighbor and he's a friend today. I have nothing but respect, admiration and affection for him.”
The incident is starkly different from how Trillo recalled it.
Trillo told NBC 10 News Wednesday that he had accidentally struck Mattiello while waving his arms "vociferously," as neighborhood boys were harassing a local girl.
He elaborated in a statement he issued Friday evening.
“In July of 1975, during a heated neighborhood incident, I went over to a next door neighbor’s house, because the young girl home was screaming that Nicholas Mattiello and several other boys were trying to push in the front door of the house,” Trillo said. “I hollered at the boys, and was furiously waving my arms, at which time I may have accidentally come in contact with Nicholas Mattiello.”
The report also notes that Mattiello's father threatened to kill Trillo if the police didn't do something about his son getting hit with a caulking gun.
“According to a Cranston police report, Mattiello’s father went to the police two days after the incident to report it, which would indicate he did not find it to be serious. At the time, our families were feuding over the fact that the two Mattiello boys were riding dirt bikes all around the neighborhood, and I feel this was his way of trying to get back at me,” Trillo said. “If I had seriously injured Nicholas Mattiello or ever threatened bodily harm, his father or mother would have taken him to the police department immediately.”
Trillo went on to say that certain parts of the police report don’t “add up,” noting that it is “one-sided.” He added that the case went to trial in the 1970s and he was found not guilty.
“Waiting two days to file a police report over something Nicholas Mattiello’s father claimed was so serious that he wanted to kill me, doesn’t add up,” Trillo noted. “This gives everyone involved a chance to create a fictitious narrative, including fabricating outrageous witness statements, including from children, which is what Mattiello’s father did.”
“I don’t agree with this police report, because it was one-sided. The police officer who initially responded to the incident, did not want to do anything, other than take a report. The bottom line is, I was found not guilty. Since when does not guilty count for nothing.”
Trillo was charged with assault, but was apparently found not guilty after trial, according to documents.