- Associated Press - Sunday, October 19, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The promotions process at the city’s police department was corrupted by “cheating, collusion and political influence” when Buddy Cianci was mayor, according to a newly disclosed 2004 investigation report by police.

The report by city detectives, based on FBI interviews and testimony before state and federal grand juries, was obtained last week by The Providence Journal (https://bit.ly/1zh0EgC ). It says promotions in the Providence Police Department were connected to political donations to Cianci by members of the police force and their spouses.

Cianci is running for mayor again this year as an independent. He denied the allegations in the report, telling a Journal reporter, “No one ever paid for promotions.” No criminal charges resulted from the findings in the report.

Cianci was twice forced out of the mayor’s job because of felony convictions: in 1984, for an assault conviction, and in 2002, when he was convicted as part of a federal investigation into corruption at City Hall. He served four and a half years in prison.

He faces Democrat Jorge Elorza and Republican Dan Harrop in the Nov. 4 election. The mayor’s office is open because Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for governor.

City officials say the police department underwent many reforms after Cianci’s tenure.

While the police union has endorsed Cianci, several former law enforcement officials said they’re worried about what another Cianci administration would mean for the police department and all the improvements it has made.

“If people in the city of Providence are truly concerned about crime, and they elect Mr. Cianci as mayor, the whole department is going to suffer and crime is going to go up,” retired police Maj. Paul Fitzgerald said.

The Journal previously reported, in 1994, that nearly half of ranking officers or their spouses gave nearly $50,000 to Cianci’s campaign over a four-year period.

The report was commissioned in 2003 by then-Mayor David Cicilline and then-police Chief Dean Esserman to look into a promotional testing scandal. It includes charts showing how promotions were connected to campaign contributions to Cianci.

The 2004 report also noted that investigations by the FBI and Providence detectives found that Cianci regularly meddled in police department operations, including deciding who would be promoted, where they would work and what they would do.

FBI interviews also alleged some police recruits were “Cianci-sponsored” and admission into the police academy could be bought for $5,000.


Information from: The Providence Journal, https://www.providencejournal.com

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