PROVIDENCE , R.I. (WPRI) — Providence City Councilman John Igliozzi said on Sunday that he and his family were targeted by “acts of intimidation and violence” at his home this weekend. Igliozzi believes the vandals were trying to demand he take action to defund and abolish the Providence Police Department.
In a statement released Sunday morning, Igliozzi said that his private property was vandalized and that he and his son’s tires were damaged by spikes on Saturday.
“This was not a political statement adherent to the spirit of our first amendment. This was an act of intimidation and censure by threat,” he said in a statement. “As an elected official who has served this city for many years, ideological differences and spirited debates regarding our future are not new.”
Pictures included with the statement showed several small metal spikes stuck in car tires, as well as graffiti with the words “DEFUND THE POLICE” and “ACAB” on the sidewalk and street in front of his home.
“While the graffiti can be washed away, the spikes embedded in our tires could’ve caused serious bodily harm, or even worse,” he said.
Later Sunday evening City Councilors Sabina Matos, Michael Correia, Jo-Ann Ryan, Nicholas Narducci, Mary Kay Harris, Carmen Castillo, James Taylor, Katherine Kerwin, Pedro Espinal, and John Goncalves issued a joint statement on the incident:
“We as elected leaders of our community stand against acts of violence and vandalism against our colleagues, their families, and our neighbors. We condemn the actions that transpired at Councilman Igliozzi’s home over the weekend and hope that whoever is responsible is held accountable. It’s okay to disagree and to let that dissent be heard at an appropriate forum. Vandalizing the home and tormenting the family of an elected official, or anyone else for that matter, is crossing the line and will not be tolerated. We stand with Chairman Igliozzi and will continue to work with all stakeholders to find solutions and condemn intimidation and coercion in all its forms. We know that these are not the values our city and neighbors uphold.”
Igliozzi said the type of behavior “that is meant to cause fear of bodily injury or of life is not something that I will ever condone.”
“Instead, I will continue to work with the community and my colleagues to find solutions to the problems and concerns that have been expressed through testimony and discussion at the Committee on Finance meetings,” he said.
The reported vandalism comes just a week after a Providence Police cruiser was vandalized with similar graffiti and a group of protesters lit fireworks and honked their car horns outside of Governor Gina Raimondo’s home last Sunday night.
“I know the vandals that committed these acts are not representative of the community who has come before the City Council and asked for reform from the police department,” Igliozzi added.
He said he has been a supporter of repealing the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) and working to create a social service crisis investigation unit.
“I will continue to listen and learn from these and other members of our community, and work to help initiate positive reforms that will continue to make the Providence Police Department the best department in the nation.”