By WPRO News and the Associated Press
A newly released police report has shed light on a decades-old assault case brought in 1975 against Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo by a neighbor boy who would grow up to become the speaker of the House.
The report provides new details into an alleged incident between independent candidate for governor Joe Trillo and a young House Speaker Nick Mattiello, saying Trillo hit Mattiello in the head with a calking gun and used a racial slur in threatening to send people after him. It also said Trillo tried to run over Mattiello with his car, and that Mattiello’s father had threatened to kill Trillo if the police didn’t do anything about him hitting the boy on the head.
Records released Friday show that Trillo, a Republican-turned-independent, was found not guilty in the 1977 trial of assaulting a 12-year-old Nicholas Mattiello.
The report is redacted, but Mattiello and Trillo have both said they were involved in the incident. Trillo joined WPRO’s Dan Yorke to discuss the report, saying he doesn’t remember many of the details in it and does not ever remember using a racial slur.
“It’s obviously a political hit job, but I think the interesting thing is here’s Fung again using his police department to go after his enemy” Trillo said. “In this case it’s me….meanwhile I’m saying release your records of when you killed a person, and oh no that’s going to bring up a lot of bad memories that he doesn’t want to talk about.”
An officer in the police report said it was “against my better judgement” to charge Trillo because Mattiello habitually misbehaved, but that Trillo was charged with one count of assault anyway.
“There seems to be no question that Mr. Trillo did actually strike young [redacted] with a tube of caulking compoung 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 at [redacted],” the report said. “However, these facts do not lessen the impact of Mr. Trillo’s assault on the boy, as justified as it might have been.”
Trillo previously said he had accidentally hit Mattiello while waving his arms around in attempt to dispel a group of boys and protect a scared young girl. There is no mention of the girl in the report, but Trillo said it must have been “written off.” A court document said Trillo was found not guilty after trial.
See the documents and listen to the conversation with Trillo below: