A Democratic member of the Rhode Island state Senate was arrested last week after police say he was caught keying the car of a supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Police in Cranston, Rhode Island, said state Sen. Joshua Miller admitted he keyed an SUV at a shopping center on Thursday.
In a news release posted on Facebook, the Cranston Police Department shared a photo of a black Nissan Xterra with a scratch along the back passenger side.
The SUV has a sticker on the back window that says, “BIDEN SUCKS.”
The vehicle’s owner, who was not named in the news release, is a Trump supporter, according to WJAR-TV in Providence.
The man called officers to the Garden City Shopping Center on Thursday to report damage to his vehicle.
“On June 22, 2023, at approximately 3:39 PM, a Patrol Officer was dispatched to a call in the Garden City Shopping Center regarding an SUV reportedly vandalized at this location,” the department said.
“[The victim] stated that when returning to their vehicle, they heard a loud scratching noise consistent with someone keying a vehicle.”
The Nissan owner said he confronted a man holding a key who was near the vehicle but quickly walked away.
When confronted with the damage, Miller denied to the vehicle’s owner he was responsible for it, police said. The victim also said a car was parked next to his own that had not been there previously.
The vehicle had a bumper sticker that read, ”Re-elect Senator Josh Miller.”
The victim used a phone to look up Miller and told police the senator was the same man he confronted and said he wanted to pursue charges.
Officers said they then began a search for the lawmaker.
“Officers checked the shopping plaza and were initially unable to locate a person matching the suspect’s description,” police said. “Approximately two hours later, Joshua Miller was observed wearing the same clothing except for his suit jacket, which was inside a bag he was carrying.”
Miller was interrogated but allowed to leave since the crime he was accused of was a misdemeanor.
A body camera clip of the interaction was posted online and later shared by Rhode Island Republican Party chairman Joe Powers, who called the alleged actions “unbecoming of anyone holding a leadership position.”
Police said after they let Miller go they reviewed footage from a camera at the shopping center and observed the Democrat keying the victim’s car.
Officers later visited Miller at his home, where they say he admitted to his actions when confronted with the evidence. He was charged with vandalism and malicious injury to property, arraigned and then released.
Police said in a statement on the matter of the destruction of property that no one “is above the law, including those who make and enforce the laws.”
“The Officers who handled this investigation did so with fairness, integrity, and without preferential treatment. I would expect no less from the fine men and women of the Cranston Police Department,” Cranston Police Col. Michael Winquist said.
Miller, who was first elected to the Rhode Island state Senate in 2006, is scheduled to appear in court on July 18.