NBC 10 I-Team: RISP officer who accused boss now warned not to speak with media
A Rhode Island State Police lieutenant, who accused his boss, a lieutenant colonel, of pressuring him to change a background report of a potential recruit told the NBC 10 I-Team he was warned by headquarters not to speak with reporters.
In a text message, Lt. Michael Casey wrote "I was recently informed by a member of the Professional Standards Unit and advised that I was in violation of Division Policy for talking to the press and subject to discipline. Since I'm not covered by the union, I respectfully request that you stop contacting me for fear of repercussions."
Casey, a 24-year veteran trooper with the Rhode Island State Police, has been out on stress leave after sending a four page internal report to internal affairs last September.
In the report, Casey claimed his boss, Lt. Col. Joseph Philbin, put pressure on him to change a negative background investigation of a potential recruit to the State Police Academy. According to the memo, that recruit, the son of a retired trooper, has had more than 20 contacts with police, including an arrest he didn't disclose to Casey.
"I am not changing anything," wrote Casey.
Col. Ann Assumpico said she ordered a through internal investigation, which found Casey's allegations were “completely without merit and lacked any evidence.” However, the NBC 10 I-Team confirmed with Casey that he was never questioned by state police about his serious complaint.
“He now is in a difficult position because he's being gagged from saying his side of the story,” said Rhode Island attorney Timothy Dodd.
Dodd does not represent Casey, but said he would advise the lieutenant to follow the order. However, if Casey were to be demoted or suspended, Dodd feels state law might protect him.
“If Lt. Casey were to be disciplined for any of his actions thus far, I believe he would be potentially in line with the Rhode Island whistleblower statute," he said.
A spokesperson for state police told the NBC 10 I-Team there is a department policy preventing troopers from speaking with reporters without prior approval. State police would not comment on whether someone from headquarters warned Casey.