WARWICK, R.I. — The chief of the Warwick Water Division is back at work after pleading no contest to a charge of slapping a co-worker while telling a “Nazi joke.”
Terry DiPetrillo, 51, of Warwick, on Oct. 3 entered a no contest plea to a charge of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and the case was filed for a year, meaning it will be dismissed if he does not face any additional charges or violations.
Superior Court Judge David Cruise also issued a no contact order, which calls for DiPetrillo to have no contact with the victim of the assault — billing dispatcher/city operations aide Peter Broomfield.
This week, Warwick Mayor Frank A. Picozzi’s spokesperson, Elizabeth A. Tufts, said, “Terry DiPetrillo is back at work. As far as his ‘punishment,’ personnel records are confidential. The other employee is not back at work. He is currently on paid leave.”
DiPetrillo and Broomfield had worked in the same office. When asked how the no contact order will be handled, Tufts said, “When the city is notified the employee is returning to work, we will accommodate the circumstances.”
Court records show that Broomfield filed a petition in state Workers’ Compensation Court on Sept. 9, making a “work-related stress claim.” The petition says Broomfield “was assaulted by his supervisor.” It says he has not returned to work since the Aug. 8 incident, and he is continuing to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
On Friday, Broomfield’s attorney, Michael J. Beagen, said, “We have no comment at this time.”
A Warwick Police Department report states that on Aug. 8 DiPetrillo asked two co-workers to step into another employee’s office because he wanted to tell “a Nazi joke.”
DiPetrillo asked that employee to stand up and said, “Knock, knock.” As the employee answered, DiPetrillo struck him in the face with an open hand, saying “something to the effect of ‘I’m a Nazi and I get to ask the questions,’ " according to the police report.
That employee told the police he viewed the “Nazi joke” as antisemitic because the employee is from a Jewish family. The employee told the police that “while DiPetrillo has never shown any violent antisemitic tendencies, he has made off-color jokes about (the employee’s) Jewish heritage, such as stating, ‘(the employee) would pull over on the highway to pick up a quarter.’ "
The employee did not seek medical attention after the incident, but told the police he “could feel the imprint of Terry’s hand for over an hour,” and the employee told the police he “could not believe Terry hit me that hard,” according to the report.
DiPetrillo told detectives that he and other employees had been talking about “The Office,” a sitcom TV series starring Steve Carell that he and the other employees often watched and discussed, according to the report. He told the police that he asked one of the employees if he’d seen an episode the previous night that included “the KGB joke,” and the employee replied that he had not.
“DiPetrillo stated that he then said ‘Knock, knock’ to (the employee). After (the employee) said ‘Who’s there?’ DiPetrillo replied, ‘We will ask the questions’ and ‘simply put my hand on his chin,’ " according to the report.
“DiPetrillo denied having any ill intent behind the joke,” the police report said. When asked if he was aware that the employee was Jewish, DiPetrillo said the employee had told him his family was Jewish but that he was “non-practicing.” DiPetrillo denied making antisemitic comments, the report said.
DiPetrillo, who began working for the city in 1998, makes an annual salary of $112,774.