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PAWTUCKET â€” An Internal Affairs officerâ€™s mistake of missing a procedural deadline by one day continues to be the undoing of the cityâ€™s attempts to fire convicted Police officer Nichalas Laprade.
On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge ruled against the cityâ€™s appeal of a police officersâ€™ disciplinary committeeâ€™s decision that allowed Laprade to keep his job despite his indecent exposure conviction.
The decision ostensibly means that Laprade, who has been suspended with pay since his arrest in November 2010 for indecent exposure, would get to stay on the Pawtucket Police Department. However, with Mayor Donald Grebien and Police Chief Paul King indicating their frustration and disappointment in the decision, Lapradeâ€™s future with the department that hired him in 2007 appears uncertain at this time.
Laprade, of Johnston, was arrested by state police in November 2010 for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating to two female motorists who passed him in his truck on the highway. Laprade had maintained that he was urinating into a bottle while driving because of a recent operation. He was convicted of indecent exposure/disorderly conduct in February 2011.
In a 20-page decision, Justice Sarah Taft-Carter rejected the cityâ€™s position that the hearing committee, its chairman and presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney had â€śabused their discretionâ€ť in denying the cityâ€™s request for a deadline extension.
In its Dec. 21, 2011 appeal, the city had asked the Superior Court to reverse or modify part of all of the denials of its petitions and motions made in the case and/or reverse or modify the hearing committeeâ€™s â€śnot guiltyâ€ť finding, to allow the city another opportunity to present its case for dismissal of Laprade.
According to attorney Vincent Ragosta, representing the city in the appeal, Judge Taft- Carter had basically disagreed with his argument that the hearing committee should take â€śjudicial noticeâ€ť of the fact that Laprade had already been convicted of the crime of indecent exposure, even though the procedural error had not allowed him to present any witnesses to support the cityâ€™s case.
Read more in our print edition.