EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares has filed a Human Rights Commission complaint against the city, The East Providence Post and eastbayri.com learned Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The complaint purportedly alleges Chief Tavares, an East Providence native and of Cape Verdean descent, has faced discrimination in his position, workplace harassment and a hostile workplace environment.
The Post confirmed the existence of the complaint from multiple sources inside and out of city government.
Tuesday’s event is just the latest in the saga of the chief, the East Providence Police Department and city officials.
Chief Tavares became the first officer from outside the EPPD to be chosen for the position when he was hired to fill the vacancy left by Hubert Paquette four years ago.
Earlier this year, the chief became embroiled in controversy when City Manager Peter Graczykowski placed him on leave subject to an internal investigation.
The move, which came just two weeks after the Budget Commission returned control of most aspects of governance back to city administrators, backfired. State Director of Revenue Rosemary Gallogly, whose office had oversight of the Commission, almost immediately returned the overseers to authority for personnel matters.
The Commission requested the State Police be brought in to investigate the matter. Little information of consequence about the inquiry was released to the public, however no charges were filed and Chief Tavares was reinstated to his position on May 23 of this year.
Soon after, the East Providence Police union, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 569, submitted a vote of no confidence on the status of Chief Tavares in early June.
During an interview with The Pawtucket Times around the time of his reinstatement, Chief Tavares’ attorney Thomas McAndrew first raised the insinuation race was somehow involved in the matter when he was quoted as saying, “It is a shame that it has come to this, but let me just say, Chief Tavares has no intention of being run out of the city merely because he’s the first minority chief hired and the first from outside of the East Providence Police Department.”
Later in a letter sent to The Post, Mr. McAndrew claimed Mr. Graczykowski attempted to offer Chief Tavares a “Separation Agreement,” which effectively meant the latter would have been forced to “involuntarily” resign his position.
In previous interviews, Mr. McAndrew also claimed Chief Tavares was the subject of insubordinate behavior from “malcontents” within the EPPD.
City Council President James Briden declined to comment on the current matter. Attempts by The Post to reach Mr. Graczykowski and Mr. McAndrew were not immediately returned.