A local Rhode Island police officer let Rep. David Cicilline’s sister, Susan Cicilline-Buonanno, go home without any troubles after pulling her over and administering a sobriety test — on television.
The encounter was broadcast on A&E’s “Live PD,” a program that follows roughly six police officers from around the country as they feed delayed video to the show.
The program did not identify Cicilline-Buonanno, but some viewers quickly recognized her and her D.C. connections.
Cicilline-Buonanno could not walk a straight line at officer Matt Moretti’s direction.
But Moretti did not arrest her because he thought there was “something medically” that inhibited her from completing her sobriety test.
“Right now, I think, in my opinion, there’s something medically that she can’t walk a straight line. … I don’t think that it’s because she’s impaired, because I don’t see signs of that,” Moretti says in the video.
Instead, he called her a ride home.
“Being a drug-recognition expert and having done this for 12 years … I’m going to use my better judgment and not arrest her and get her a ride home,” Moretti says on camera.
Social media users criticized Moretti for letting Cicilline-Buonanno off the hook, claiming that he was more lenient with her because of her political connections.
Cicilline-Buonanno is the president of the Narragansett Town Council. Her brother is a Democrat, representing Rhode Island’s 1st District.
She issued a statement Sunday vehemently denying she was drunk at the wheel.
“Friday evening, while driving home, I was asked to pull over on Route 4 by a Warwick police officer and subjected to a field sobriety test. I was very surprised and very nervous. Something like this has never happened to me before. The police officers determined that I was not impaired, which of course I knew. Still, I found the whole experience really upsetting,” Cicilline-Buonanno said.
“I realize that people understandably hold elected officials and educators to higher standards, so I just want to emphasize that the Warwick Police allowed me to leave that evening because I was not impaired in any way. People who really know me know that I am a conscientious and responsible person. I would never operate a motor vehicle without full control of my faculties, ever,” she added.
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Correction 2:18 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the number of congressional districts in Rhode Island.