The longtime chief of Newport Police was Arraign on a felony charge on Monday the 6 of June 2018.The Newport Police chief face a felony count of evidence tampering after being accused of crashing his police vehicle into a vehicle in the department’s parking lot, failing to report the damage and attempting to cover up the evidence
Michael Capriglione, who has been the town’s chief for nearly four decades and was longtime chair of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council, was Arraign by a New Castle County Grand Jury earlier this week on charges of official misbehaviour, tampering with physical evidence, careless or distracted driving and failure to provide information at the scene of a collision.
Details about the incident are scattered in the two-page indictment.
In a written statement, Department of Justice Spokesman Carl Kanefsky said Capriglione, 62, is accused of striking and damaging another vehicle in the police department parking lot on May 19, failing to report the accident to the owner or any authority before taking “additional steps to avoid detection.”
The indictment document accuses Capriglione of using his police status inappropriately. It claims he sought to prevent the use of “certain surveillance video” by its adjustment, destruction or disguise or by employing force, bullying or deception against another person.
It is unclear whether Capriglione struck another police vehicle and whether that vehicle was parked or occupied.
When reached by phone Wednesday, State Police Spokesman Richard Bratz declined to provide details and directed questions to the Department of Justice, which declined to provide further detail about the crash.
They said I did something. I have no idea,” said Capriglione when reached by phone. “You’ll have to talk to my lawyer.”
He declined further comment. James Liguori, his attorney, declined to comment particularly on the charges against his client.
It involves the issues of a motor-vehicle matter. That is all I will tell you, Liguori said. The state was very kind to let us know ahead of time and we are going to willingly surrender.
Michael Spencer, Newport’s mayor, said Capriglione was put on paid suspension around May 25 while the investigation was underway and declined further comment.
The charges of official misbehaviour and failure to provide information at the scene of a crash are misdemeanors. The careless driving charge is a lesser violation.
The most serious charge faced by Capriglione is the tampering with physical evidence, which is a offence that carries a sentence of up to two years in jail. Capriglione became police chief in 1983. In addition to his post with the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council, Capriglione has also been an influential figure in New Castle County’s Checkpoint Strikeforce Taskforce.
In 1999, he was charged with battering after being accused of beating his wife during an argument. Arrest records state that police noted bruises on his wife’s cheek, arm and side. His wife afterwards sought a protection from abuse order.
She later dropped that petition and wrote to then-Attorney General Jane Brady that she would not testify in the case and had not been battered.
She later said her husband should have never been arrested and accused New Castle County Police of intimidating her during the investigation, a claim the then-chief denied.
That case against Capriglione was eventually dropped and is no longer part of court records, which means it was likely expunged.