Suspended but no charges. Wonder what what would have happened to one of us [i]civilians[/i] ?
Providence fire chief apologizes in wake of suspension
By JACK PERRY
projo.com staff writer
Updated 5:46 p.m.
PROVIDENCE -- Fire Chief James Rattigan, who was suspended this morning for a week without pay, publicly apologized today for allegedly swearing and threatening police officers in North Providence last April.
Rattigan was suspended by Mayor David N. Cicilline after the incident was reported in today's The Providence Journal.
Cicilline told Rattigan he would lose his job if it happened again. He also told Rattigan to apologize to the police.
In a statement received this afternoon, Rattigan said, "I extend my sincerest apology to those officers for disrespecting them in such a manner."
Rattigan added, "I apologize to the men and women of my department. I would not expect this type of behavior from any of them and, therefore, cannot justify it in myself, regardless of what may have sparked the incident."
He also apologized to the people of Providence, saying he accepts the mayor's reprimand.
According to a police report, Rattigan was temporarily handcuffed and detained after the police found in him in a state of apparent intoxication a block from his Locust Avenue home on April 25.
A woman driving by had called the police around 12:30 a.m. to complain that a man was exposing himself on Locust Avenue, according to the police report.
When Patrol Officer Paul E. Swinson approached Rattigan early that morning, Rattigan cursed him, asking repeatedly, "Do you know who the (expletive) I am?," Swinson wrote in a police report. Swinson called for backup, the report says, because Rattigan "was becoming very belligerent" and he could "detect a strong odor of alcohol."
After a struggle, Swinson handcuffed Rattigan and put him in the back of the patrol car, the report says. After another officer arrived, Rattigan was released. The report does not explain why.
Before Rattigan left, both officers wrote in separate reports, he took their badge numbers and threatened their jobs. Rattigan threatened to call the mayor and police chief, according to Patrolman David A. Tesseris.
Mayor A. Ralph Mollis and Police Chief Ernest Spaziano said they did not hear from Rattigan. In his statement, Rattigan said he had consumed "a few beers" at a social event and was walking toward his front door when he was approached by two police officers.
Rattigan, who was arrested for drunken driving three years ago, said today he'd been dropped off near his house because he prefers letting others drive when attending social events where alcohol is served.
He said he became "insulted and outraged" because the police officers suggested that he had been engaging in "inappropriate public behavior.
"Unfortunately, I was overtaken by my emotions and answered the police officers' inquiries in an unprofessional and rude manner, despite the fact that they were simply carrying out their duties," he said in the statement.
In a meeting with Cicilline this morning. Rattigan acknowledged acting inappropriately when questioned by the officers, and he apologized to the mayor for his conduct, according to a press release from Cicilline's office.
"I told Chief Rattigan that this type of behavior is inappropriate and totally unacceptable, and I directed him to apologize to the North Providence Police Chief and the two officers involved in the incident," Cicilline said in the press release.
Cicilline said Rattigan understood that "if there's an incident or this kind of behavior in the future that he will not retain his position. Period."
It wasn't Rattigan's first encounter with the North Providence Police. On March 10, 2000, Rattigan was charged with drunken driving after he crashed a new Providence-owned Crown Victoria into a utility pole in North Providence.
Rattigan declined to take a breath test and the charge was later dismissed, although he was suspended for two months.
After crashing the car, Rattigan pleaded not guilty to the drunken-driving charge. However, he pleaded guilty in Traffic Court to refusal to take a blood alcohol test -- a civil offense -- and his license was suspended for three months.
He also had to reimburse the city for the totaled car.
Rattigan was appointed in 1995 by former Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. He earns $104,683 annually, including his base salary and longevity pay, according to the city personnel department.
-- With reports from The Associated Press