The ACLU of Rhode Island has filed an open records request today with the Cranston Police Department in an effort to determine whether the decision by a police captain to engage in blitz ticketing of overnight parking violators, after the Cranston City Council voted down a proposed union contract, was done through official channels.

According to news reports, Captain Stephen Antonucci, the president of the Cranston police union, has acknowledged ordering the ticketing but has claimed the timing of it was a coincidence. He agreed to waive his rights to confidentiality in order to address the burgeoning ticketing scandal. The ACLU has received anonymous tips, which have also been provided to the State Police, that Capt. Antonucci used a private cell phone, not the police department’s radio, to order officers to engage in the controversial ticketing during the nights in question in November.

In that context, and in light of the Captain’s waiver of confidentiality, the ACLU open records request to interim police chief Kevin Barry seeks copies of:

  •  Any police radio conversations or calls made by Antonucci with the station or other members of the police department between November 13 and November 16, 2013, relating to the issuance of parking tickets, and/or any police logs relating to any such conversations or calls;
  • Any departmental policies, rules or regulations governing police officers’ use of private or personal cell phones for law-enforcement related activities; and
  • Any memos, orders, or other documents issued by Antonucci between January 1, 2013 and November 16, 2013 relating to enforcement of the City’s overnight parking ordinance.

The ACLU believes the records will help clarify exactly how the ticketing happened and whether it was done in accordance with departmental policies. The agency has ten days to respond to the request under the open records law.