Battling Signs: Lightbody Arrested in Incident on Broadway

The fight for and against a casino in Revere has literally turned into a fight – with a dust up on Broadway resulting in a situation with multiple versions of the same story and the leader of the anti-casino effort – Charlie Lightbody – being arrested for punching a man.

The incident follows a controversial story in the Journal last week where the anti-casino effort leader, Lightbody, detailed why he had decided to come out publicly against a casino in Revere.

Last Saturday morning’s fray – which police described as a ‘he said-he said’ type of incident – shows that the once-quiet casino discussion in Revere has now been turned on its ear.

Suffolk Downs leaders this week said they and their volunteers are scared of Lightbody’s signholders.

Anti-casino advocates say they are scared of being muscled and intimidated by Suffolk Downs volunteers and City officials.

Ciarlone said he had been threatened with death.

Lightbody indicated he was the victim of unequal application of the law having also suffered injuries in the dust up, but being the only one charged so far.

In summary, the levelheaded discussion that prevailed for so long has been taken to a place that is much more personal and much more explosive.

According to the Police Report, the incident on Saturday morning stemmed from dueling rallies on Broadway – where a large contingent of ‘No Casino’ people were across the street from another large contingent of ‘Vote Yes for Suffolk Downs’ folks.

With the recent tenor of the discussion changing, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

The report detailed that an argument started and that Ciarlone was using foul language in front of an 8-year-old girl.

Lightbody apparently said something to Ciarlone about that.

The argument between the two escalated and, in the end, Ciarlone had been punched in the face. He claims his nose was broken in the incident.

Meanwhile, the police report also details injuries to Lightbody’s face – a large scrape on his left cheek – and an allegation that Ciarlone spit in Lightbody’s face.

Lightbody apparently went to the Police Station to report the matter, but a report on him had already been filed by Ciarlone. Lightbody was arrested at the station and charged with assault and battery on a person over 60 with injury.

Ciarlone has not been charged with anything, though police officials said that charges in a case like this don’t have to come immediately, and can be filed at a later date if necessary. Ciarlone is described as the victim right now. He is the long-time president and business manager for the union that represents pari-mutuel clerks and other workers at the track.

“On Saturday morning I was holding a casino ‘Yes’ sign with other Revere supporters in front of the Fire Station on Broadway in Revere,” Ciarlone said in a statement released from Suffolk Downs. “At about 11 a.m. Charlie Lightbody, who is leading an anti-casino group, approached me. He said he was angry about some criticism I had about his campaign. He struck me twice and then threatened to kill me. I was brought into the Fire Station and treated by EMTs. The police took a report. I was transferred to the Whidden Hospital in Everett. There, x-rays showed a broken nose in two places. His attack was completely unprovoked and his threats have me concerned about my safety and the safety of my family.”

Ciarlone’s recounting of the incident is absolutely disputed by Lightbody and his attorney, Tim Flaherty. They contend that any physicality from Lightbody came in self-defense – pointing to the police report and photographs showing injuries to Lightbody’s face.

“My client, Mr. Lightbody, is a life-long resident of Revere who is respected as a business leader and in his community has been known for his many charitable activities,” said Flaherty on Monday evening. “While exercising his Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights in opposition to the proposed casino in Revere, he was accosted by the business agent from Suffolk Downs (Ciarlone) who stands to personally profit by the approval of a casino in Revere and East Boston. Mr. Lightbody intends to vigorously assert all his legal remedies.”

A source – who wished to remain anonymous – indicated that Ciarlone was allegedly arguing with an unidentified man who was at the anti-casino rally with his 8-year-old daughter. During that discussion, the source said, he allegedly used foul language in front of the girl. Lightbody allegedly tried to intervene in the matter and a scuffle ensued in which Ciarlone allegedly shoved a sign in Lightbody’s face – which led to Lightbody allegedly acting in self-defense.

Attorney Flaherty told the Boston Herald that Lightbody had been struck in the face first by the top of a political sign. They also confirmed to a Boston Herald reporter that Lightbody has a 2001 conviction for assault and 2007 conviction for larceny in a New York City identity fraud case.

Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle told the Journal that he is concerned about the safety of volunteers at any future rallies.

“I’m very concerned about the safety of our employees and our volunteers,” Tuttle said on Tuesday morning. “We’re particularly concerned about organized efforts to intimidate people or discourage people from voting.”

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