Rizzo Continues To Seek Answers on Police Settlements

By Adam Swift

City Solicitor Paul Capizzi will likely be before the City Council in December to respond to a request seeking more information regarding accusations of misconduct in the police department and legal settlements connected to those accusations.

It is still up in the air as to whether some or all of those responses will take place in an open meeting, or during executive session. The action comes in response to motions made earlier in the fall by Councillor-At-Large Dan Rizzo, who in turn made the motions after the release of a WBUR report on the Revere Police Department in August.

“I’m here to provide an update on Councillor Rizzo’s motion for information from the administration about the following: the hiring guidelines for chiefs of police and assessment center results in 2017, allegations of misconduct against current Chief (David) Callahan, and accounts of all financial settlements on behalf of police officers and reasons for settlements since 2017, and a list of all disciplinary actions against all members of the Revere Police Department (since 2017),” Capizzi told the council Monday meeting. “I’m just here to say that given the volume of information requested, the logistics involved in segregation of this information, the determination of what topics may or may not be conducted in executive session, and the requirement to notify any individual who may be discussed in executive session if the topic qualifies, I plan to have all or part of this information available for the second city council meeting in December.”

If the amount of information is not available by December, Capizzi said he would have it before the council in early January.

Rizzo thanked Capizzi for responding to the motion that he made in September.

“The article that had come forward through … WBUR regarding this, I know none of us on the city council before reading it, before hearing it, had any inkling that this was going on other than maybe through the rumor mill,” said  Rizzo. “To have to read it was very disheartening, we are city councillors here, we are supposed to have knowledge of what goes on in the city and when you find out that there are settlements being made with employees because of bad conduct, the way you get that information should not be through the radio or through a written article.”

While Rizzo said he understood that Capizzi might think some of the information would be appropriate for executive session, he did question a communication that stated some of the reasons for which executive session might be held.

“I’m not prepared to discuss the merits of anything, but if we are going to discuss why an officer was terminated, or why something was done, or what action the city took, that affects the reputation, the character, or the discipline or dismissal of that particular officer, I’m erring on the side of caution and putting that in executive session, because that individual has a right to be at that executive session,” said Capizzi. 

Capizzi said he also accepted responsibility for not having the information to the council before now.

“Mayor (Brian) Arrigo asked me to get to work on this when (Rizzo) filed the motion and other than that email I sent (Rizzo) I did not do much else with that, although right now I am also filling in as the HR director, so there is a lot going on,” he said. “So that is part of the reason, I’m not using that as an excuse, I just want to let you know that it is on the list of many other things that have to be done, and I thought you earned the right for my response.”

Rizzo said he was appreciative of the update, adding he was sure the city’s taxpayers would be, as well.

“If we are making numerous settlements with numerous police officers, as I’ve been told, I think we have a right to understand where our tax dollars are being spent, and why they are being spent the way they are,” said Rizzo. “If we are spending tax dollars making settlements, there’s got to be a problem somewhere that needs to be addressed. We shouldn’t be making settlements unless … the employees of the city are making some pretty egregious errors.”

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