Guilty of assaulting unarmed prisoner, former Cranston police officer drops appeal

PROVIDENCE – A former Cranston police officer must serve one year probation under a Superior Court decision that resembles an earlier judgment reached against him in District Court, Providence.

In both courts, Andrew Leonard was accused of assaulting an unarmed prisoner in a secure area of the Cranston Police Department headquarters in early 2020.

In May of 2021, Magistrate Judge J. Patrick O'Neill found Leonard guilty at trial in District Court, Warwick, and sentenced him to a year of probation.

Leonard lodged an appeal in Superior Court.

On Monday, Leonard backed away from a second trial, pleading no contest before Judge Richard Raspallo in Superior Court, Providence.

December 2021 reporting: Gian Mattiello sues Cranston police as officer who assaulted him appeals guilty finding

"I understand that a plea of nolo contendere is for all purposes the same as a plea of guilty," says the request for a plea change that Leonard signed and filed with the court.

Raspallo gave Leonard a year of probation for the offense.

During the earlier bench trial in 2021, O'Neill had rejected Leonard's attempts to justify a series of punches and a knee-shot that he delivered to 26-year-old Gian Mattiello.

The May 2021 trial: Cranston police officer says he punched prisoner believing he'd grabbed equipment off his duty belt

The assault was captured by surveillance cameras that do not record audio on March 5, 2020.

Prior to the exchange in the station, Mattiello had been wrestled into custody at the scene of a domestic altercation.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ex-Cranston officer drops appeal in case of assault on prisoner