Tags: providence | dancing | cop | disinvited | black lives matter

Providence 'Dancing Cop' Booted From 2nd City for Black Lives Matter Protest

Image: Providence 'Dancing Cop' Booted From 2nd City for Black Lives Matter Protest
Retired police officer Tony Lepore performs his dance routine while directing traffic December 14, 2004, in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 03 Dec 2015 11:45 AM

Providence's "Dancing Cop" Tony Lepore is without a dance floor after a second city decided this week not to have the infamous officer direct traffic this holiday season because of his connection to a recent Black Lives Matter protest.

The 68-year-old former Providence officer, who retired in 1989, has been dance-directing holiday traffic for 30 years. But he was fired from his seasonal post in Providence last month for organizing a #BlackLivesMatter protest outside a Dunkin' Donuts where a worker reportedly scrawled the slogan on a cop's coffee cup, the New York Post reported.

At the time, Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare said Lepore was let go because he was "trying to speak for the department through his activism," according to the Post.

"Recent statements made by Mr. Lepore gave the inaccurate impression that he represented the position of the Providence Police Department," Pare said in a statement. "Mr. Lepore was not authorized to speak on behalf of the Providence Police Department and his actions were, in my judgement, a disservice to the department and to members of the Providence community."

Officials in East Providence then extended an invite to Lepore to work in its city, but that offer, too, was rescinded this week after protests erupted.

"With the controversy, it was decided this would not be beneficial to anyone," Timothy Conley, one of East Providence's five council members, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Lepore responded to the decision on Facebook, claiming that the department is disregarding his years of service.

"They degraded all the work I did for the street cops, and the work I did for the city for 30 years," Lepore posted online, according to WLNE-TV. "I will stand behind my actions, and I would do it again. It's about the men in the street not the puppets."

Lepore is now threatening legal action against the city of Providence and “and whoever else my lawyer wants to go after” for defamation of character, according to the Post.

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Providence's "Dancing Cop" Tony Lepore is without a dance floor after a second city decided this week not to have the infamous officer direct traffic this holiday season because of his connection to a recent Black Lives Matter protest.
providence, dancing, cop, disinvited, black lives matter
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Thursday, 03 Dec 2015 11:45 AM
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