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Thursday, April 4, 2013

DUI Suspect to Police: ‘I Ran For God Damn Congress!’

Former congressional candidate Michael G. Riley, 56, is charged with resisting arrest and drunken driving early Wednesday morning in Narragansett.

Michael G. Riley, 56, of 444 Ocean Road, Narragansett, a former Republican nominee for Congress, was arrested at about 2 a.m. Wednesday by Narragansett police and charged with drunken driving and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, and cited for refusing to submit to a chemical test.

According to Narragansett Police Department reports, patrolman James M. Fitzgerald was monitoring traffic from the parking lot of Maridee Bait and Tackle at about 1:45 a.m.

Fitzgerald wrote that he saw a grey Lexus traveling south on Point Judith Road move as if it was going to turn into the lot for the shop, but then quickly change direction. The car instead headed southbound in the northbound lane before turning onto Point Judith Road, according to reports.

The Lexus then went off the roadway and onto the grass by Brenton Point, Fitzgerald reported. He wrote that after a short distance, the Lexus got back on the road and went east on Old Point Judith Road, then turned on to Kinney Avenue.

Fitzgerald wrote that the vehicle began drifting again, at which point he pulled the car over in front of at 42 Kinney Avenue. Riley, the sole occupant of the Lexus, smelled of alcohol, had blood-shot eyes and made no attempt to retrieve his license and registration when asked, Fitzgerald reported. 

According to Fitzgerald’s report, at this point Riley asked Fitzgerald for his name and badge number, which Fitzgerald said he provided. Fitzgerald wrote that when he asked Riley how much he had had to drink that night, Riley became agitated, again asking for Fitzgerald’s name, and yelling that the officer had no right to pull him over.

Riley then took out his cell phone and dialed 0, holding the phone up as if it was recording. Instead of recording their conversation, the phone repeated a standardized message. Fitzgerald wrote that he again told Riley why he had been stopped, and noted that Riley attempted to write down the information, but he kept dropping a pen and paper, and eventually stopped trying.

According to Fitzgerald’s report, Riley accused Fitzgerald of pulling him over three previous times that night, which Fitzgerald denied. At that point, patrolman Brent J. Kuzman also arrived on scene.

Fitzgerald wrote that once Kuzman arrived, he asked Riley to step out of the Lexus. Riley allegedly swore repeatedly at the officers and said, “You’re going to lose your job for this.”

According to Fitzgerald’s report, he told Riley that he suspected he was under the influence of alcohol. Riley allegedly responded that he had once ran for Congress and the officers had “[Expletive] up.

In Kuzman’s report, he wrote that Riley appeared unsteady and intoxicated, and refused to comply with instructions or requests. He also noted that Riley continually swore at both officers.

According to Fitzgerald’s report, he asked Riley multiple times to submit to field sobriety tests, which Riley refused. Based on Riley’s driving and behavior up to that point, Fitzgerald wrote that Riley was arrested and charged with drunken driving.

Fitzgerald wrote that instead of complying with the arrest, Riley attempted to walk away, told officers he was walking home and screamed, “I ran for god damn Congress.”

Fitzgerald and Kuzman both wrote in their reports that Riley continued to resist, and as a result, Kuzman fired pepper spray in a one-second burst to subdue Riley. Fitzgerald wrote that while on the ground, Riley screamed at them, “Obama was right!”

Fitzgerald wrote that once Riley was handcuffed, he began to cry, and asked police if they would “just let him walk home, he wouldn’t remember any of this anyway.”

Fitzgerald and Kuzman reportedly had to carry Riley to the back seat of a squad car and again into the police station. Riley was disoriented, and asked repeatedly where he was and what town he was in, according to reports. After a confidential phone calls, Riley refused to submit to chemical breath tests or answer any questions about how much he drank or when he was drinking, the officer wrote.

Riley was arraigned before a justice of the peace at Narragansett Police Headquarters at about 3:25 a.m. on April 3. He was released on $1,000 personal recognizance. Riley refused to enter a plea or to sign any of his arraignment documents. He was released at about 3:30 a.m.

According to online records, Riley does not have any previous arrests. Being released on personal recognizance is customary for the charges Riley faced, given his lack of criminal history. Riley’s case number is 41-2013-00737.

Riley ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for the congressional seat won by James Langevin. Riley, the Republican nominee, lost by about 50,000 votes to Langevin – a margin of 55.7 percent to 35.1 percent, with independent candidate Abel Collins taking 9.1 percent of the vote.

Riley’s first appearance at Fourth Division District Court is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9. At that point, he will be arraigned before a Rhode Island District Court judge on charges of resisting arrest and drunken driving.