Metro

Spotlight on the Statehouse: Nov. 30, 2015

By
Metro Editor
Monday, November 30, 2015

Dancing traffic cop at intersection of controversy

Tony Lepore, a retired police officer for the Providence Police Department who became known for dancing while directing traffic each holiday season, was declined the job this year because he organized a protest and boycott of a Federal Hill Dunkin’ Donuts where an employee wrote “#blacklivesmatter” on an officer’s coffee cup Oct. 2.

Lepore and the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 3 spoke out against the Dunkin’ Donuts employee after the incident, The Herald previously reported.

Steven Paré, Providence commissioner of public safety, issued a statement, saying, “Recent statements made by Mr. Lepore gave the inaccurate impression that he represented the position of the Providence Police Department. Mr. Lepore was not authorized to speak on behalf of the Providence Police Department and his actions were, in my judgment, a disservice to the department and to members of the Providence community.”

Lepore was hired by East Providence to carry on his tradition this December, NBC 10 reported.

He was also scheduled to take part in the city’s holiday tree lighting ceremony, but he canceled his plans after learning of a planned protest against his hiring, GoLocalProv reported.

Putting out fires in the fire department

The fire on the roof of Textron Tower in downtown Providence follows some administrative shakeups in the Providence Fire Department.

Mayor Jorge Elorza changed the shift structure so that firefighters were expected to work more hours per week, the Providence Journal reported. The decision took effect Aug. 2, and a R.I. Superior Court judge ordered arbitration for the dispute in September.

The Journal also reported that Paré began acting as the interim fire chief for the fire department during the weekend of Nov. 21 after the mayor demoted then-Fire Chief Scott Mello. But GoLocalProv reported that Evan England, spokesperson for the mayor, said Paré is only acting as the public safety commissioner, not as fire chief.

Paré said Mello was fired due to the spike in reported on-the-job injuries and sick days since the implementation of Elorza’s new shift plan, the Journal reported. Elorza also hired former Fire Chief George Farrell to advise Paré, the Journal reported.

Police pursue potato peeler stabbing suspect

A Providence man stabbed his brother and sister with a potato peeler amidst a post-Thanksgiving argument early Friday morning, the Journal reported.

Miguel Revolorio, the alleged stabber, was still at large when Inquisitr reported on the crime Friday. His brother and sister, Luis Zuniga and Tyresha Barrett, were treated at Rhode Island Hospital, and their stab wounds were described as non-life-threatening, the Journal reported.

Barrett told the police that she woke up to the sound of her brothers fighting. When she went in the kitchen, Revolorio grabbed a potato peeler and stabbed his brother in the arm with it. When Barrett tried to separate them, he stabbed her in the abdomen.

Minority-owned businesses

Rhode Island law mandates that at least 10 percent of state government contracts must be with minority- or women-owned businesses, but officials estimate that less than 5 percent of contracts actually go to such businesses, the Journal reported.

Despite the good intentions of the threshold, the lack of a system for accountability has hamstrung its effectiveness because there is no way to track the amount of business going to minority business enterprises. “Yes, we have a great law,” Lisa Ranglin, president of the Rhode Island Black Business Association, told the Journal. “It is not working by any stretch of the imagination.”