NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The mother of an 18 year old forced to do push-ups as punishment for knocking down a mailbox offered support for the officers who could be suspended depending on the outcome of an internal investigation.
An eyewitness recorded the Friday morning incident and has turned that video over to police.
Richard Marchione was driving his car with four juveniles inside when police allege one of them used a reflector stick to hit a mailbox on Springdale Avenue. The owner of the mailbox did not press charges for what would've been a misdemeanor according to police.
According to the police report , officer Luis Rivera ordered the teens to 'give me some push-ups' before allowing the teens to drive away from the scene on Mark Drive.
"The cop did wrong but I'm glad he tried to teach my son a lesson," Corinne Marchione told Target 12. "Personally, I don't think he should be suspended."
North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi called the officers' decision unprofessional and unacceptable.
"To allow the officers to administer some sort of street justice, I cannot condone," Mayor Lombardi said, adding that like Marchione's mother, several taxpayers have called him to say they approve of the officers' sidewalk punishment.
North Providence Deputy Police Chief Paul Martellini said the internal investigation is on 'the fast track' and that the 'push up order' is only part of it.
"We're looking into everything from why there were four officers on that one traffic stop to what the supervisors orders were," he said. "And how this was all documented is important."
In the police report, officer Rivera tells the teens 'they should engage in more physical activity to keep them busy and away from trouble.'
"I then told them to get in the push-up position and give me some push ups," Rivera wrote.
Officer Jeremy Bibby, Officer Paul Swinson and Officer Christopher Cote were also at the scene. According to Martellini, if the officers are punished, the minimum would be two days suspension without pay. All four remain on active duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
Mayor Lombardi tells Target 12 the incident is especially troubling considering his effort to 'clean up' his town's image following recent high profile crimes by town leaders.
Former police Chief John Whiting is facing a five year sentence with six months to serve for stealing money from a stripper in 2011.
Former council members Raymond Douglas and John Zambarano and North Providence attorney Robert Ciresi were allconvicted of federal charges in 2011 following a bribery scheme.
Walt Buteau at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Walt on Twitter: @wbuteau .
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