Providence, RI – A Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate is accused of attacking a child in 1975 who grew up to serve as Speaker of the House.
The Cranston Police Department released a 43-year-old report in which Joe Trillo is alleged to have hit State Rep. Nicholas Mattiello in the head three times with a caulking gun, according to WPRI.
The police report has statements from several witnesses including Mattiello and his family members. Cranston Police Colonel Michael Winston said the police found the report while searching the department’s microfiche system.
The city of Cranston had redacted the names of witnesses, according to WPRI.
Trillo, an independent candidate, was 32 at the time of the July 21, 1975 attack and Mattiello, who is a Democrat, was 12.
“He said that there was a large group of children playing on the [redacted] property when Mr. Trillo told them to shut up,” the police officer who filed the report stated. “He said that they were laughing at each other when all of a sudden Mr. Trillo came over and called them some vulgar names.” The report then states that Trillo hit Mattiello three times over the head with a caulking gun.
The police officer wrote Mattiello’s father was very angry and “threatened (in the heat of passion) to kill Mr. Trillo if the police didn’t do something.”
A police detective also wrote, “There seems to be no question that Mr. Trillo did actually strike young [Mattiello] with a tube of caulking compound after he had been provoked into doing so by [redacted] who is an ill-mannered, undisciplined little brat who has been a source of aggravation to other residents of this area as well as to school authorities.”
The detective stated, “However, these facts do not lessen the impact of Mr. Trillo’s assault on the boy, as justified as it might have been.” WRPI reported that the detective pressed charges against Trillo even though “it was against my better judgment.”
Trillo said on WPRO radio the release of the report was a political hit job by his political opponent. Allan Fung, the mayor of Cranston, is the Republican nominee for Rhode Island governor.
Trillo, who was honorary chairman of President Donald Trump’s Rhode Island campaign, said that Fung should release records about a car crash in which he killed a man in 1989. A grand jury didn’t charge Fung, according to WPRI.
The 1975 incident was discovered when Trillo admitted to it. Trillo said that he accidentally struck Mattiello in the head when a group of boys were trying to get into a house and he heard a girl screaming. The police report doesn’t mention any of that, according to WPRI.
WPRI reported that Trillo was found not guilty of a misdemeanor assault charge in a 1977 trial.
“Waiting two days to file a police report over something Nicholas Mattiello’s father claimed was so serious that he wanted to kill me, doesn’t add up,” Trillo said in a statement. “This gives everyone involved a chance to create a fictitious narrative, including fabricating outrageous witness statements, including from children, which is what Mattiello’s father did.”
In a witness statement given in 1975, Mattiello said he threatened to run over him and his friends with a car. Mattiello said in the statement that Trillo came close to hitting him with a car.
Mattiello said last week he had a vague memory of what happened. He said he now considers Trillo a friend. Mattiello and Trillo served together for years in the House of Representatives.
A September poll of voters done by RWU/WPRI had Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo with a two-percentage point lead over Fung. Raimondo had 43 percent of the vote and Fung had 36 percent. Trillo had seven percent.