The retired cop who annually cut a rug while directing Rhode Island traffic -- until Providence cut ties with him when he protested a Black Lives Matter supporter -- has a new dance partner on the other side of town.
Tony Lepore, 68, is taking his holiday dance act to East Providence from Dec. 10 to Dec. 24, the cavorting cop said during an appearance Sunday on “Fox & Friends.”
“And I’ll always on the 24th wear my Santa hat and pass out candy canes to the kids,” said Lepore, who’s been dancing in the streets since 1984.
A longtime local favorite, Providence dropped Lepore’s services after he helped organize a picket outside a Dunkin’ Donuts where a worker wrote “#blacklivesmatter” on a police officer’s coffee cup.
“Mr. Lepore was not authorized to speak on behalf of the Providence Police Department and his actions were, in my judgment, a disservice to the department and to members of the Providence community,” Providence Police Chief Stephen Pare said in a statement.
Lepore said Sunday he was aware of the risks of his protest but he wanted to support the beat cops.
“Black Lives Matter is an organization that has some individuals – some individuals – that advocate harm to police officers,” Lepore said. “Since we picketed and got a written apology from the Dunkin’ Donuts’ owner. . . . we haven’t had one incident in Rhode Island.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.