RI ACLU Asks Cranston City Council to Further Investigate Police Practices

Thursday, August 06, 2015


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ACLU Exec. Director Steven Brown

The ACLU of Rhode Island has urged the Cranston City Council  to call for further investigation into police practices and potential abuses of power against individuals outside the department.

ACLU of Rhode Island executive director Steven Brown noted in a letter sent to city councilors on Tuesday that further investigation is warranted because "“the public deserves to know whether the improper actions so thoroughly documented in this report were, somewhat incredibly, the only such abuses to take place, or whether there were other unknown victims of these violations of the public trust.”

According to the Rhode Island State Police report, former police chief Marco Palombo not only hired private investigators to conduct surveillance of two police officers, but also briefly spied on a contract civilian computer technician. Also entailed in the spying, police improperly accessed a DMV database to get information about the technician.

The ACLU letter states that “if police misused their access to state databases for one political purpose, the reasonable question naturally arises whether this was the only time such databases were misused. As for surveillance of civilians in addition to the technician, another city employee alleged she too had been the subject of police surveillance. Though the RISP report was unable to substantiate her suspicions, Brown noted that under the circumstances, her concerns “cannot be dismissed out of hand either.”

As a result of the letter, Brown has asked the City Council to "demand answer as to whether the police department, with or without the knowledge of the Mayor, may have engaged in other questionable activities  against city residents since 2009."

For a copy of the letter, click here.


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