Editor’s Note: Considering the recent developments in the investigation into misconduct in and around the East Providence Police Department, The Post is offering this editorial from early June of this year as means of reference…
There’s little doubt about it, the decision by City Manager Peter Graczykowski to place East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares on administrative leave was a mistake and a reach, a stretch especially under the circumstances considering it occurred just two weeks after the state agreed to allow the Budget Commission to disband and was done under the haze of the manager’s own seemingly tenuous employment situation.
Mr. Graczykowski’s decision was a reach because of the aforementioned reasons and also because in numerous public statements, including multiple times here in The Post, State Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly noted her office would be keeping close tabs on the city both in the short and long terms.
The manager’s decision, whatever the rationale behind it, was done too soon, and appeared to be too obvious a politically based one as well.
The rank-and-file of the police department, likewise, were obvious in their zeal to rid themselves of a chief who is not one of “their” own, who didn’t cut his teeth wearing the charcoal and red uniform of the E.P. force. Their haste may have exacerbated the situation.
In the same vain, however, Chief Tavares’ camp since his reinstatement has also erred on the side of recklessness. In a recent article on the matter published by The Pawtucket Times, Chief Tavares’ attorney Thomas McAndrew made a troubling insinuation about racism playing a role in the situation.
Said Mr. McAndrew in the story dated May 25, “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.”
East Providence certainly has its faults. We all know that too well. However, through most of our recent history, we’ve been a diversified, multicultural, multiracial community whose citizens have lived, worked and attempted to prosper together.
There’s no doubt Mr. McAndrew should be a strong advocate for his client. It’s his duty. It’s his right. But don’t wrong a whole city, never mind impugn a whole police department, with what, until proven publicly, is a baseless accusation.