A Rhode Island state senator’s displeasure with the GOP landed him a run-in with law enforcement after a reported supporter of former President Donald Trump ID’d him as the culprit who keyed his car.
Thursday, members of the Cranston Police Department (CPD) pulled over Democratic Rhode Island state Sen. Joshua Miller after he had allegedly vandalized an individual’s car at the Garden City Shopping Center. The lawmaker, who when confronted referred to the victim as “a maniac,” claimed that he left the scene because he was scared.
Reports suggested that the unidentified victim had caught Miller in the act and that the state senator who has served since 2006 had been triggered by stickers on the vehicle. One such political message can be seen in police bodycam footage that read, “Biden Sucks.”
CPD arranged to have the victim identify Miller in a parking lot and when they explained to the lawmaker what was going on, he asked, “Is it the maniac that yelled at me in the car next to me? He was blocking my way, saying I scratched his car. I didn’t scratch his car.”
That story would later change when the Democrat was confronted with surveillance footage. But prior to that, Miller framed himself as the target of right-wing violence. “I am a state senator. I think he recognized me. I think he is one of the gun nuts.”
WJAR’s Gene Valicenti questioned the politician after it was confirmed he had been arrested for vandalism and malicious injury to property, and asked, “Did you key a Trump supporter’s car?”
To that he replied that he had to review the charges. A follow-up sought confirmation on a reported wardrobe change wherein Valicenti asked, “Did you change clothes to avoid identification?”
“I took my jacket off, that’s not against the law,” Miller contended.
News : State Senator Josh Miller confirms his arrest by Cranston PD for malicious damage :
Me: “did you key a Trump supporter’s car?”
JM: “I have to review the charges?”
Me: “did you change clothes to avoid identification?”
JM: “I took my jacket off, that’s not against the law”. pic.twitter.com/gPPgfmBniR
— Gene Valicenti (@GeneValicenti) June 23, 2023
Later that day, police questioned Miller at his home and confronted him with the details available from surveillance footage. “We got evidence,” Major Todd Patalano said to the senator outside his home, “so you tell us how you want to handle this. You keyed his car?”
“Yeah,” he admitted, before claiming the owner had “dared him” to do it.
Patalano informed the politician that they could make “a big deal of this or a little deal, so…Well, I wanna know what you recommend? I mean, I don’t want to be accused of covering up something for a senator.”
“Sure, neither do I,” the lawmaker responded as he agreed to go with the police and be charged. He was later released on $1,000 personal recognizance and is slated to be arraigned on July 18.
Reacting to the report, Rhode Island GOP Chairman Joe Powers tweeted out a call for Miller to resign, “This behavior is unbecoming of anyone holding a leadership position. State Senator Joshua Miller has proven once again…he does not have the composure required to represent every constituent in his district and must resign immediately.”
This behavior is unbecoming of anyone holding a leadership position. State Senator Joshua Miller has proven once again the he does not have the composure required to represent every constituent in his district and must resign immediately. https://t.co/MZdKqm13kT
— Joe Powers (@RIGOPChairman) June 23, 2023
Meanwhile, Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist issued a statement the day after commending his team for their work. “Nobody is above the law, including those who make and enforce the laws.”
“The officers who handled this investigation did so with fairness, integrity, and without preferential treatment,” Winquist noted.
Much of Miller’s interaction with law enforcement can be viewed below via WJAR:
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