NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS) – Four police officers in North Providence, Rhode Island are under investigation after they were caught forcing five boys to do push-ups on the side of a road.

The officers say the boys vandalized a mailbox on Springdale Avenue Friday morning.

Instead of arresting the teens, the officers thought the best way to punish them was to force them to do push-ups.

According to a police report obtained by WPRI-TV, when the victim of the vandalism decided not to press charges, Officer Luis Rivera ordered the teens to do some push-ups.

“Rivera had each of them stand up, explained to them once again what they did wrong and how it was wrong for wasting our time and resources. All five subjects thanked Officer Rivera and said what they did was stupid and that it will never happen again. They all said they understood and we cleared the scene.”

But a witness recorded the entire incident on video and posted it on YouTube.

Then local television stations broadcast it.

Now, the officers are being investigated.

The acting North Providence police chief said he wanted to “reserve my opinion until we do a fair and thorough investigation.”

But Mayor Charles Lombardi called the officers’ decision “stupid” and “unacceptable.”

“To allow our police officers to administer how can I say, some street punishment, I can’t condone,” Lombardi said, adding that he wants the officers suspended.

A Providence Journal poll found that 74 percent of readers thought the police officers did the right thing.

So did the mother of one of the teens involved.

“The cop did wrong but I’m glad he tried to teach my son a lesson,” Corinne Marchione told WPRI. “Personally, I don’t think he should be suspended.”


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