NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — North Smithfield police on Thursday released body-worn camera footage from when they questioned Bryant University’s head men’s basketball coach in connection with a hit-and-run.
Jared Grasso was charged on Oct. 8 with failure to stop for an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor. The charge stemmed from an Oct. 1 collision on Route 146 South by the West Acres interchange.
Police said a car, traveling at a high rate of speed, sideswiped another vehicle and then continued down the highway. The woman who was hit gave police the suspect’s license plates, which led them to Grasso.
The bodycam video, taken when an officer visited Grasso’s home on Oct. 2, shows damage along the right side of one of his vehicle. A piece of one of the door handles is missing and the side mirror is scuffed.
Police blurred Grasso’s face prior to releasing the video to 12 News.
WATCH: Body cam footage of Grasso being questioned (Story continues below.)
Grasso first told the officer that the car in question was his wife’s, but he had been driving it on Oct. 1. According to Grasso, the vehicle was damaged while parked outside a local restaurant. He was in the process of obtaining surveillance footage of the alleged incident from the restaurant and had been instructed by his lawyers not to reach out to police, he added.
“Are you saying your car was hit?” the officer asked.
“I don’t know what happened. I came out to my car and this is what it looked like,” Grasso replied.
The officer then informed Grasso that another driver identified his plates in connection with a hit-and-run on Route 146 South. Later in the conversation, Grasso said he was being “attacked.”
“Not by you, but by a situation in North Smithfield,” Grasso said, later identifying himself as the basketball coach at Bryant University.
Grasso also claimed there was an incident with a man at the restaurant where his car sustained damage.
“If someone is targeting me, or doing something to my car in the parking lot of an establishment…” Grasso said. “I’ve been followed a lot in the last couple of days.”
Throughout the exchange, the officer attempts to explain to Grasso the investigative process and what charge he will face. The coach interjects multiple times, repeating his claims that his car was damaged in an incident at a restaurant.
The bodycam video later shows a woman, identified as Grasso’s wife, come out of their home. Grasso questions her in front of the officer on the alleged restaurant incident.
“We didn’t obviously plan that conversation. That would be hard to plan,” Grasso tells the officer, referring to his conversation with his wife.
Further on in the footage, the officer again tries to explain his investigative process to Grasso, who interrupts and asks for the police report on the Route 146 crash. The officer then informs Grasso that he can request the report at the station.
“Wait, you’re in my house … wait, wait, wait, now this is getting a little different,” Grasso said.
“My lawyers are pretty strong,” Grasso added. “You know this just got bad, right?”
The bodycam footage later shows Grasso’s wife coming out of the house again and asking Grasso to take a phone call inside. The officer then explains to Grasso’s wife that her husband will be arrested in connection with a hit-and-run on Route 146.
Grasso repeatedly comes back outside, shouting and interrupting his wife’s conversation with the police officer. He then denies having driven the car that was damaged.
“That’s not what you told me when I first talked to you,” responded the officer, who later tells Grasso that he’s going to put a warrant out for his arrest.
Grasso’s wife repeatedly asked her husband to stop talking and go back inside the house. On multiple occasions, Grasso interrupted, yelling and saying he is being “attacked.”
It is unclear what attacks Grasso was referring to.
Bryant University told 12 News on Thursday Grasso was still on a leave of absence as they continued an ‘external investigation.’
“Although it’s my policy to not offer comment on pending cases, we look forward to resolving this matter quickly and providing more context upon its conclusion,” Craig Montecalvo, Grasso’s attorney, said in a statement.