Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua was criticized yesterday by police union officials after he criticized a veteran Captain Detective who interviewed him and suggested police would plant evidence in his car and try to trick him after he reported that he was almost run over outside city hall.
According to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune
“Lantigua said he and Patrick Blanchette, the city’s economic development director, were nearly run down by two white men in a small Ford sedan, a Focus or a Fusion, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lantigua said it “was a deliberate attempt to hit me and Patrick Blanchette” which left him fearing for his life then and afterwards.”
Officials criticized Lantigua for not reporting the incident until more than 24 hours later when he and city attorney Charles Boddy went to the police station with a type-written statement.
“So why wouldn’t you dial 911? Doesn’t he have a cell phone?” Detective Alan Andrews, Lawrence patrolmen’s union president asked the Eagle Tribune. “If there is an attempt on his life why was there a delay? What would motivate someone not to immediately report an attempted murder?”
Lantigua made comments Saturday on WCCM 1110AM which were described as “intentionally slanderous and harmful” by superior officers and “inflammatory and irresponsible” by patrolmen. Lantigua’s comments were directed at Captain Detective Denis Pierce. “I felt as if we were the ones accused of a crime,” Lantigua said on the call-in show.
“It’s outrageous,” said Andrews. “He’s accusing a police department of committing a crime.”
From the Eagle Tribune
Both patrolmen and superior officers praised Pierce and his investigative abilities last night.
“…We proudly stand by Capt. (Denis) Pierce, a man whose 20 plus years of unblemished service to the citizens of Lawrence have earned him a reputation that is above reproach,” wrote Sgt. Scott McNamara, president of the patrolmen’s union.
Andrews described Pierce as “the quintessential professional.”
Both unions called on local politicians and city councilors to take a hard look at Lantigua’s leadership skills. “They need to question his ability to manage the city of Lawrence,” Andrews said.
McNamara said the superior officers are “stunned by the level of apathy thus far demonstrated by the city’s elected leaders.”
With few exceptions, local and state leaders “have chosen to remain silent,” he said.
“We, here and now, urge those persons, and anyone else with a stake in the future of this ‘great’ city to join us in condemning the mayor’s comments,” McNamara wrote.