Second Charlestown police officer is placed on leave

Second Charlestown police officer is placed on leave


Lt. Patrick McMahon

Editor’s note: This version includes revised language and a statement from Lt. Patrick McMahon’s attorney, Joseph J. Pezza.

CHARLESTOWN — A second officer of the Charlestown Police Department, Lt. Patrick McMahon, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

McMahon is the department’s second in command, a 29-year veteran of the force, president of the local police union, and chief of EMS of the Charlestown Ambulance-Rescue Service. Multiple sources confirmed that he was placed on paid leave Tuesday afternoon.

The action came one week after the department placed a senior detective, Ryan Gwaltney, on leave.

Police Chief Jeffrey Allen has said he requested a Rhode Island State Police investigation “based on information developed by federal authorities during their investigation of Evan Speck,” a former officer. Allen, in a press release, had stated that the information “may or may not involve members of the Charlestown Police Department.”

On Aug. 18, Speck, of Westerly, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence to charges of possession of steroids with the intent to distribute, distribution of a misbranded drug, and money-laundering. Sentencing is set for Nov. 3.

On Thursday night, McMahon’s attorney, Joseph J. Pezza of the Rodio & Ursillo firm in Providence, told The Sun in an email that “Lieutenant McMahon’s placement on paid administrative leave is in no way whatsoever related to or associated with” any State Police investigation. He furthermore stated that any insinuation to the contrary would be false and potentially defamatory.

Allen and Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz said Thursday morning that they could not comment on personnel matters as a result of the “parameters set under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.”

“Relating to the police department, our priorities are to ensure that the citizens of Charlestown are safe, that we are enforcing the law, and that our department operates with fairness and integrity,” Stankiewicz said. “If and when it becomes appropriate to discuss any such matters, we will do so with the transparency that the people of Charlestown expect.”

McMahon did not respond to a message from The Sun earlier on Thursday. McMahon told The Providence Journal he was called into Allen’s office Tuesday and placed on leave, but indicated he was not sure what departmental policies he was accused of violating.

Gwaltney’s attorney, Matthew Dawson, of Providence, said in a phone message Wednesday night that his client was not aware of the nature of the state investigation.

“Other than (Gwaltney) being placed on leave, I don’t know any more,” he said.

Rhode Island State Police spokeswoman Laura Meade Kirk declined to comment.

Speck, 34, resigned from the Charlestown department less than a week after a March 20 raid on his home.

Prosecutors said the search produced evidence of the sale and distribution of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs between June 2015 and March 2017. Court documents showed that Speck sold the drugs through members-only Internet forums using encrypted messages and various email addresses.

Before his arrest, Speck had filed lawsuits against the town and the department in federal court, the first in September 2016 and the second three months later. Speck alleged that his superiors stopped his pay and health care coverage, and denied his request for injured-on-duty status, in retaliation for his exercise of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Speck had asserted that he had ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder, which affected his ability to review department policy changes in a timely fashion.

Speck this week filed a motion to dismiss his attorney, Edward Roy, of South Kingstown, in connection with the lawsuits. The motion, filed Tuesday in federal court, indicated that Speck would seek new lawyers and continue to pursue his complaints.

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