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Ruling means convicted officer can stay on force

October 18, 2012

PAWTUCKET — An Internal Affairs officer’s mistake of missing a procedural deadline by one day continues to be the undoing of the city’s attempts to fire convicted Police officer Nichalas Laprade.
On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge ruled against the city’s appeal of a police officers’ disciplinary committee’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, Laprade’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 city’s position that the hearing committee, its chairman and presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney had “abused their discretion” in denying the city’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 committee’s “not guilty” 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 “judicial notice” 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 city’s case.

Read more in our print edition.


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