SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The retired police officer known as the “Dancing Cop” has been disinvited from a parade in South Kingstown following a petition started because of his past activism against the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2wNHpQd ) Tony Lepore’s planned appearance was canceled in the Sept. 24 South Kingstown Fire Fighters Relief Association parade.
Nathan Street, the group’s president, said organizers voted last month to rescind Lepore’s invitation to avoid potential disruptions that could pose a risk to public safety, according to a letter Street shared with the newspaper.
The petition, started by South Kingstown resident Amber Collins, had received 535 signatures as of Friday. It said in part that Lepore’s “actions do not represent the values of the South Kingstown community nor do they reflect the bravery of our firefighters.”
Lepore said he didn’t want the parade to be marred by protests. He said that 10 minutes after the cancellation, he accepted an invitation to perform in a different parade in Mendon, Massachusetts, the same day.
The former Providence officer became known for his dance moves while directing traffic in the city in the 1980s. He continued to perform at intersections during the holidays after his retirement in 1989. That ended in 2015, after he organized a small protest outside a coffee shop where a worker wrote “#blacklivesmatter” on another officer’s cup.
Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com