The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into a Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney who was charged with refusing a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence, according to Warwick Police Chief Col. Stephen M. McCartney. The Providence Journal reports.
On Thanksgiving morning, Gerard B. Sullivan was stopped by police after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence. The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.”
Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., who were charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with the more serious offense, driving under the influence. The prosecutor claimed he didn’t attempt to use his position to avoid the DUI charge, which is more serious than the breath-test violation. Following news reports that suggested Sullivan had received lenient treatment because of his job, he was charged with a DUI.
Although a spokeswoman for DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General last week would not confirm or deny that Sullivan was under review for possibly attempting to use his position to avoid the charge, on Monday Warwick’s Chief McCartney said an employee from the Inspector General’s Office contacted him last week, The Providence Journal reports.
McCartney told the newspaper, “They’re doing their own independent investigation, but they did ask for everything regarding the Sullivan investigation, to include the internal review,” adding, “I promised them I’d give them 300 percent cooperation, and I think it’s wholly appropriate.”
The police chief told the newspaper the department will turn over its information regarding why Sullivan was not initially charged with a DUI. “We’ve got other areas of evidence that have to be looked at, and all I want is a thorough investigation.”
He also welcomed an out-of-state external investigation as to why Sullivan wasn’t initially charged. McCartney told The Providence Journal, “I just think it would be very difficult to have any outside agency in the state of Rhode Island review this case, so I’m glad the Department of Justice is reviewing.”
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