Chief Whiting August Incident
December 29, 2011 by staff
Chief Whiting August Incident, Suspended North Providence Police Chief John Whiting of North Attleboro is being sued by the former stripper from whom he is accused of stealing more than $700 after a car chase last August during Tropical Storm Irene.
Justina Cardoso, 21, of Pawtucket filed the lawsuit Thursday seeking $250,000 and other punitive damages from Whiting. She says in the suit that Whiting violated her constitutional rights prohibiting illegal search and seizure.
Whiting, 57, was suspended without pay as North Providence police chief after the Aug. 28 incident, in which he allegedly stole $714 from Cardoso’s purse, then sought to cover it up.
Lawyers for Cardoso and Whiting did not return calls for comment on Tuesday.
In the August incident, Whiting was driving to work through Pawtucket in an unmarked police car when he encountered a Ford Explorer that had allegedly slowed to avoid a fallen tree. Cardoso was a passenger in that car.
Whiting alleges the driver of the Explorer threw an object from the car window. So, Whiting activated his emergency lights and began chasing the Explorer. The chase ended when the Explorer hit a parked car and the occupants fled the scene.
Later, Whiting allegedly admitted to a Pawtucket police officer that he stole money from the pocketbook he found inside the Explorer. Whiting allegedly handed the officer a roll of wet bills and told him to spend the money in Las Vegas, asking him not to say anything about it.
Cardoso’s suit claims Whiting illegally went through her SUV and took her money, which police say she earned at the Satin Doll strip club in Providence and from a man who paid her for her company. She also claims Whiting violated her privacy.
After the car chase, Cardoso was arrested on a warrant for an unrelated criminal matter. She pleaded no contest last month to three charges in an extortion and blackmail case and to one count of marijuana possession.
Defense attorney John Grasso has said Cardoso stopped working at the Satin Doll after Whiting’s arrest and was unable to find new work as a stripper. Her stolen earnings and SUV were returned, but Cardoso could not afford to keep the vehicle, Grasso has said.
Cardoso was given a five-year suspended sentence in the blackmail case and a year of probation in the drug case. Grasso has said she avoided jail time by getting treated for drug abuse. He also said she is pursuing a GED.
Whiting also faces criminal charges in relation to the incident. He pleaded not guilty in Providence County Superior Court to charges of larceny of more than $500 and two counts of solicitation of obstruction of justice.
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