State Sen Joshua Miller, a Democrat who has served in the state senate for nearly two decades, was captured on surveillance footage allegedly keying the vehicle in the parking lot of the Garden City Center. According to the police statement, the vehicle’s passenger said he heard a scratching noise and saw Miller with his keys in his hands while walking back to their car.
When police caught up with Mr Miller several hours after the incident, he denied keying the car and he believed the vehicle owner was a conservative activist who had been stalking him at the statehouse for his role in promoting gun safety legislation. Mr Miller in February sponsored a bill to ban the purchase, sale, and transfer of assault weapons in the state.
“Is this maniac who yelled at me in the car next to me?” Mr Miller asked the police officer who detained him in a body camera footage released by the Cranston Police Department.
Mr Miller then offered his explanation of events, telling the officer that the vehicle owner called out his name.
“He was blocking my way, saying that I scratched his car, I didn’t scratch his car,” Mr Miller said. “I’m a state senator, I think he recognized me. I think he’s one of the gun nuts.”
Mr Miller then told the officer that Colonel Michael Winquist was aware that he has been stalked in recent months by people opposed to his political activities.
In a statement on the incident, however, the Cranston Police Department wrote that “Mr Miller never reported any threats to Colonel Winquist or any member of the Cranston Police Department.”
After police officers viewed the surveillance footage, Mr Miller was arrested for vandalism/malicious injury to property and charged with a misdemeanor. When questioned again, the police statement said, Mr Miller said the vehicle owner was “daring me” to key the car. He was later arraigned and released on a $1,000 bond. He is due back in court on July 18 for a rearraignment.
“Nobody is above the law, including those who make and enforce the laws,” Mr Winquist said in a statement. “The Officers who handled this investigation did so with fairness, integrity, and without preferential treatment. I would expect no less from the fine men and women of the Cranston Police Department.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Miller’s office for comment.
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