Tim Munoz allegedly stepped in front of a car he said was speeding on Howland Drive
Police arrested School Committee member Tim Munoz, 64, on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct Saturday afternoon (10/29/22) after he allegedly stepped in Howland Road to stop a car he said was speeding. According to the police report, Munoz was raking leaves in his front yard before 1 p.m. Saturday when he stepped in front of a car that happened to be occupied by an off-duty EG police officer. The officer said Munoz started yelling at him and his wife, who was driving, and he called the police.
Munoz told police the car had been “flying” down the street. When questioned about how he knew the car was speeding, Munoz said he could tell from the town’s portable radar unit that sits north of his driveway. Police questioned that statement since the radar sign was only visible to cars heading southbound on Howland; Munoz said the car was going “as fast as it could.” Police told Munoz it was dangerous to step out into the street in front of a car.
When police spoke with the driver of the car, she corroborated her husband’s account and said Munoz had yelled obscenities at them, noting there were two children in the car at the time.
Police decided to arrest Munoz and charge him with disorderly conduct because he obstructed a street to which the public has access. He was handcuffed and taken to the station for processing.
Munoz, reached Wednesday evening, sent this statement:
I would like to respond to an incident that occurred on Howland Road outside my home this past Saturday.
As an EG School Committee member, I hear frequently from many people about how speeding cars throughout the town are a safety risk to children.
Right in front of my property, there is a 25-mph sign and a yellow quadrangle sign on the same post warning of a curved roadway ahead. Six months ago, the Town installed a flashing red/green sign in front of my next-door neighbor’s home, to help enforce the 25-mph limit (thank you, Town).
And directly across the street from my property, the EG school bus makes three stops in a row each weekday.
But many cars continue to speed down my street, signs and safety notwithstanding.
This past Saturday at 1 p.m., when I was putting leaf bags by the curb, an SUV came speeding down my street. I signaled the car to slow down, The car stopped. I spoke briefly to the driver, who apologized for driving too fast. An adult passenger, however, hurled some invective my way, and I responded in kind. The car drove off.
The car departed southbound but suddenly stopped twenty yards down the road. The passenger got out of the car and came back to my property yelling and wanting to re-engage. Words were exchanged. As it turns out, the passenger was an off-duty police officer. He did not show a badge. But he did unleash a torrent of invective my way.
Next thing I knew, five police cars came to my house and I was summarily arrested in my driveway. The arresting officer did not ask for my side of the story. It was all breathtakingly quick.
Now, this is a pending legal matter and so I will not be commenting further until it is resolved.
This matter has absolutely nothing to do with the EG School Committee, and I apologize to all my cherished colleagues for any unfortunate association with the work we all do on behalf of the community.
Photo courtesy of Sam Ross/theradioscout.com.
I think I would have to concur with Mr. Munoz considering what else would necessitate putting a “town’s portable radar unit” to be located on Howland? As one who has driven on Howland Road multiple times it seems pretty obvious to me.
Five police cars for a misdemeanor? Mr. Munoz must have been deemed a serious threat to the community.
All the “political advocacy opinions” I read on EG News about SROs, I would think guarding the perimeter of local schools would be better served.
I believe that radar unit makes it’s rounds to all areas of town. Howland is one of the many roads that have a speeding problem. I also think the police responded in number because of the initial call about Munoz’s behavior that he is trying to explain away in his statement. I live nearby.
Do we know the identity of the officer who has the initial confrontation with Munoz?
James, we typically do not include names in police reports. We make exceptions when it is an elected or appointed official, which is why we used Mr. Munoz’s name.
One police officer giving a lot of tickets for motor vehicle violations would go along way. A real person giving a fine instead of silly electron speed signs. Human interaction, what an idea. One officer every day of the week.
If they were actually going the speed limit, or close to it, there’s no way he steps in the road. Living on Howland, I’m sure Munoz knows the issues with speed on that road, and it’s quite easy to tell if someone is going 25 or not. Pretty ridiculous that an off duty officer calls in to have Munoz ARRESTED because the officer’s wife was speeding. Maybe issue the guy a citation next time, and have your wife follow the laws you’re sworn to protect?
I live close to where this happened and Munoz did step into the road. Nobody goes 25 in this town on any road so it is a town wide issue that Munoz should not have tried to solve by trying to take things into his own hands, especially given that he is a town official. I don’t think the off-duty officer has the power to have someone arrested. I think the police who responded made that decision after speaking to everyone including neighbors. At least that is how it is supposed to work. Munoz sounds like he is trying to do a little damage control.
There is an unaddressed problem with speeding in EG. Earlier this week in the police blotter there was someone who was going 50MPH in a 25MPH zone and did not stop at a stop sign. They were given a warning for their speeding. I constantly see cars speeding and rolling through stop signs on Middle Road, right off of which several of our schools are located. And I constantly see cars speeding down First Avenue, right in front of the police station and next to Eldredge, and yes I know they are speeding because I see the cars blowing past the speed sign occasionally set up in front of the station putting up numbers in the high 30s and into the 40s. Perhaps stepping out in front of a car is dangerous, but so is going 50 in a 25 MPH zone and ignoring stop signs. Why is is that the pedestrian is the one who gets arrested? Nationally pedestrian deaths reached a 40-year high in 2021 and the risk of death of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle increases from 10 percent at 23 MPH to 75 percent at 50 MPH (children and seniors are at even greater risk). Is that a risk we as a community should tolerate? Between better enforcement and improved road design we have the tools to address this before there are more tragic consequences. Arresting pedestrians who are frustrated by non-enforcement and warning drivers is not the way to get there.
He was not a pedestrian. He was illegally directing traffic, taking it upon himself to become an enforcer. Why not call the police? Why didn’t the eg news site get both sides of the story?
Mr. Munoz say it’s not a School Committee matter but he states that he hears all the time as a School Committee member about speeding, so which is it? Can’t have it both ways. Why would you apologize to the EGSC if it isn’t a SC matter?
Stepping in front of a moving car is insane and shows very bad judgment. SC member Munoz should have taken the license plate number and called the EG police if he thought they were speeding….and how does he know they were speeding anyway…. did he have a radar gun?
Mr. Munoz showed poor judgment. Don’t blame the police; he initiated the incident.
I love this comment. Exactly poor judgment and not taking responsibility for your bad behavior. This is your school committee member people!
“Can’t have it both ways?”
Ummm yes. Both things can be true.
It has nothing to do with his position because he’s not acting on behalf of the school board and he would have done the same thing if not on the board. But also he’s been in a position to *hear* the town parents talking about speeding.
It’s tiresome to read these kind of “gotcha” comments when people are trying to corner an elected official. It is fair to question the judgment of an elected official. And it’s fair to use their actions outside of the policy making zone to evaluate them.
Stepping in front of a moving car out of concern about danger to school children seems like an impulsive and potentially dangerous choice. But for a pretty wholesome reason.
Hmmm, if I was driving down an EG road and someone beckoned me to slow down I’d immediately stop, be mortified, apologetic and drive on at the speed limit as quickly as possible. I certainly wouldn’t walk back for round two. Seems like an extreme police reaction. Maybe it’s time for an EGPD refresher course on de-escalation techniques? Maybe they could invite the public to attend too! We could all benefit in the win/win. Many in our neighborhood have taken pictures of the registration plates of speeding cars and reported them to the EGPD. They’re told by police there’s nothing they can do as it’s not evidence let alone proof of speeding. Sporadic speed bumps might do the trick?
Three weeks ago, former SC member Jean Ann Guliano stood before the town council and school committee and asked them to stop being politicians and start being public servants. OK, so this isn’t exactly what she had in mind. We all moved to East Greenwich to enjoy our homes and the community. I empathize with Mr. Munoz. As other commenters agree, speeding on our 25 MPH neighborhood streets is out of hand, and we must all do better.
Mr. Munoz is frustrated because it is HIS house that is being affected by the incessant speeding on Howland. This is minute compared to the conflicts of interest and withholding of critical evidence from elected officials that Jean Ann disclosed. This resulted in several residents with damaged homes from the construction of Cole middle school, which has still not been rectified. She asked you to launch a proper and impartial investigation to air it out once and for all. I implore Mr. Munoz to show the same outrage when it is MY house. Make a motion to launch the investigation.
If I see someone speeding, I’d typically call the police. I’ve never gotten arrested. Conduct matters
Indeed – this is a good reminder that a little civility on both sides goes a long way.
I applaud Mr. Munoz. I’ve been passed on Howland Road 2 times in the last month for doing 30, which is speeding as it is. The other day turning on to Howland from Division I could see the car down the road in front of me being clocked at 52 and accelerating to 57 as it passed the speed monitor. That’s crazy.
As far as being able to know were speeding without radar, as one commenter asked, its relatively easy. You just see how long they take to get from one point to another and you know their speed. Part of the graduating the police academy is being able to tell a driver’s speed without radar, multiple times. Its relatively easy to do.
Maybe its time to turn those speed monitors to speed cameras.
Fact Checker says: False. The speed monitors on Howland Road switch to saying “Too Fast” once you go over 39. You didn’t get those speeds from the speed monitor.
Never said it was from the speed monitor. This is rhode island, I have front and rear dash cams and a radar gun in my car.
Agreed! I travel down Howland 2+ times per day and the light switches to “too fast” over a certain speed. Never seen it read 40mph or more before. I find myself going 30-35mph on Howland honestly and I think 25mph is a tad slow for that road. If you want to try to mitigate speeding maybe all Town roads should be 25mph or less (excludes State roads and highways obviously)…just a thought. As for the arrest…I wasn’t there but this incident doesn’t sound like it warranted an arrest, at least on first read. There was no assault/battery and no one got hurt. I think if the tables were turned and the off duty cop lived on Howland and Munoz was driving, the driver would have been arrested. Look at policing in Europe/UK (go ahead and watch YouTube how the British police handle situations) they are respectful of people and trained to deescalate rather than coming in all hot and escalating scenes like they own the world. Cops are people too and need to remember that. Good luck, we are all doomed.
You applaud Munoz’s bad behavior? Jumping out in the road and screaming at a motorist to slow down because it is HIS house? Speeding is a problem all over the town. Poor judgment which makes me question his judgment as school committee member. Just what we need Jay, more government eyes on us with more cameras!
Mr. Munoz, as evidenced in multiple SC videos, has shown an inability to handle debate or confrontation very well. The ability to self reflect and deescalate is a requirement for the job of an elected official. Howland Road is not a neighborhood street – it’s a busy connector road.
As someone who has worked closely with the EGPD in addressing speeding/traffic/safety issues we had on the Hill (in advocating for sidewalks for our children), I can assure you they went above and beyond to address and resolve the issues. Further, they deal with drunk and disorderly people every weekend. I’d argue it takes a lot to rattle them.
Suggesting the EGPD was to blame for his arrest is irresponsible and egregious. Other than Mr. Munoz’s word, there is no evidence to suggest the EGPD acted inappropriately.
It’s my opinion that the EGPD deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Very well said Jody!
I really hope this isn’t a case of the off duty policeman making Munoz pay for admonishing his wife. This doesn’t sound like a typical case where the police would be called. And if the off duty policeman escalated the situation, and the. Called in his buddies as retribution, that wouldn’t be cool.
I think police officers are supposed to call if they get into a situation when they are off-duty. In this day and age, I don’t think any officers are going to arrest anybody without enough to do so, so suggesting that the officer called in his buddies is not cool.
So he sees the car is going over the speed limit and then we’re supposed to believe he chose to step in its path to make them slow down? Yeah, that doesn’t right. He was so enraged he was willing to risk getting run over? Makes no sense. Also, the only answer was to arrest him? Aren’t police officers trained in de-escalation techniques? I mean if these are the same people meant to be SROs that’s a pretty short fuse for needing reinforcements. One off duty cop and 5 police cars worth of cops and he was such a threat they had to arrest him? I’ve seen Munoz on the SC meetings and, no offense, but I can’t imagine that at his worst he’d be able to threaten the safety of at least 6 police officers.
I live in that neighborhood. He did jump in the road which is why he got arrested. Not because he posed a threat. He had to have exhibited some more bad behavior once they got there to get arrested. Police can’t throw handcuffs on people for no reason. I have a police scanner so there were probably a lot of cars because of the call coming in to the station.
As a frequent dog walker in the South Peirce area and someone who drives up and down Howland regularly, speeding and tailgating are both issues. It is a bit hard to judge, but I have stepped into the road myself when someone is driving particularly fast. My husband and I have both been passed on Howland and on South Peirce despite the double yellow line. When our son hit a deer on Howland several years ago my husband mentioned that to the responding officer who replied, “You wouldn’t want us to arrest your neighbors, would you?” Frankly, yes, we would. And don’t get me started on everyone flying through the red light at Howland and Division. Or improperly using the center turn lane on Post Road (a tutorial is in order!) Obey the laws, people, particularly where there are so many pedestrians, kids and animals. And please enforce the laws, police department.
Why is everyone so quick to bash the police? I fully respect the police in EG and have never had any negative interactions with them. Nor do I know anyone else who has.
Blue gonna protect Blue…
blue is not going to protect blue over an old man raging in the road over what he thinks is a speeder. Not worth it. lol the country is waging war against the same people they want to jump when they need them. smh.
It’s difficult to see a scenario here that warrants an arrest. Did Munoz hit the off-duty officer, or their car? Did he threaten violence? What, short of those things, would rise to the level meeting the criteria for arrest? Especially if Mr. Munoz is honest (not certain) when he claims that the car started to leave. Why come back? I respect the EGPD, also never had a bad interaction with them, but with the details that we currently have, this sounds like an off-duty cop taking things too far, because he could. I’m trying to imagine anyone I know personally calling the police for that, and can’t. Can you? Mostly because they would then also have to argue to impartial cops that they weren’t, in fact, speeding. But, when you’re a local cop yourself, you can skip that whole impartial questioning part. If more comes out, and Munoz was actually disorderly to the point of threatening, I’ll happily side with EGPD, off-duty or otherwise. But as far as probabilities go, I wouldn’t bet on that right now. If this report is accurate, Munoz was arrested because “he obstructed a street to which the public has access” not for any threatening behavior. Also, for what it’s worth, I think most aren’t bashing the EGPD as a whole, just this one off-duty cop. Once he calls it in, their hands are pretty tied for all sorts of reasons, some better than others, but that call likely shouldn’t have been made. Hopefully we get more details to make better judgments.
How can you say it is difficult to see a scenario that warrants an arrest? Were you there? Obstructing and ranting in the roadway and swearing IS threatening behavior.
In the report (which is available to the public), it sounds like Munoz was hurling “invectives” (F-Bombs) at the family and refusing to move from the road. That sounds to me like it meets the elements.
Cops are people too. They may get a little different response from their co-workers when they call for help but that does not mean it did not happen. There were others who witnessed this school committee member’s behavior.
What first world problems we all seem to be having. My concern with our country and whole, is everyone beginning to take matters into their own hands. Everyone thinks their rights are the most important rights and they are free to act on it and I think we need to go back to a more civilized time.
What is wrong with everyone jumping to the conclusion that it was the police officer over reacting and calling his “buddies” to arrest Mr. Munoz?
Speeding is a problem in all of EG! Not just that street. I get angry at people speeding down my street DAILY. But never would anyone in their right mind step in front of a speeding car. Thats absolutely crazy. Every street has crazy speeders and it’s not just a city problem, it’s the whole state.
I’ve watched many of the zoom meetings for the school committee and their have been times when Mr. Munoz shows a side that is not pleasant and doesn’t want to hear views that are against his own. He becomes defensive and shuts down others in the community who do not see things the same way as him.
So is this a shock this happened? Yeah it is. Do I believe though that this is the officers fault? No.
Speeding in EG is occurring on just about every neighborhood street. People used to say it’s bad when the high school gets out ……..wrong…it’s everyone ! People rushing to get to work, people coming home from work, people taking kids to school, picking kids up, people doing work in neighborhoods, all types of delivery trucks … speeding in EG is everyone’s issue !
How about installing portable speed bumps in those neighborhood streets with highest incidences ( as observed by police or highest complaints received) to truly make everyone slow down or perhaps let those speeding risk dropping their transmission on the road …that sort of gets the message across in earnest. The streets with speed bumps would have signs warning drivers.
Portable speed bumps are used on strategic intervals on neighborhood streets in many other states. The town DPW said they would impact plowing in winter , but they could easily be taken up say from 12/1 each year till say late February to not impact town plows, or perhaps they could be left in place for plowing, if newer designs work for plows. The town should explore this issue. The Cedar Ave. speed bumps though permanent, near Cole do a great job of slowing speeding cars down.
It appears nothing else works to slow down the escalation of cars/drivers speeding in town. The speed monitors slow drivers down to see how fast they are going, then they resume, their speeding. Police cannot patrol every neighborhood for speeding at all times.
While I do not agree with stepping in front of speeding cars….I can fully appreciate the frustration so many in town feel, including Mr. Munoz with the speeding in neighborhoods.
Whatever happened with the driver (speeding or not speeding), Mr. Munoz admitted that he exchanged “words” with the passenger. That in itself shows his true character and complete lack of judgment. It doesn’t matter if someone gets in your face and calls you all the terrible names in the book. As an elected official, as someone who represents a group here in East Greenwich, your mouth should be shut. Is it fair? No. Did you sign up to be an elected official and understand that you would have to abide by different rules? Yes.
My guess is that Mr. Munoz did not expect any of this to come back and bite him so now he’s doing damage control. There is no defense for his behavior, he broke a law and lost his cool. And instead of an apology or accountability, we get blaming and excuses.
Good thing this was a police officer. How many other unsuspecting families have been terrorized by Munoz?