A controversy is brewing in Rhode Island after four police officers seemingly made a group of young men do push-ups as immediate punishment for vandalizing mailboxes.

It began when a woman called 911 Friday to report that her mailbox had been damaged, and officers caught a car full of teenagers in the act (the details are a little hazy here, but the teens may have been vandalizing other mailboxes nearby when caught).

Mayor Charles Lombardi told WPRO-AM that the officers thought the best way to reprimand the teens was to make them do push-ups, and a neighbor videotaped it from his window.

Here is the video, first reported by WJAR-TV:

The task was hardly grueling– the neighbor estimates the young men had to do between 10-12 push-ups– but Mayor Charles Lombardi is calling the situation unacceptable.

“It’s not going to fall by the wayside,” he assured, calling the video “a little nauseating” to WPRO-AM.

“I don’t know if it is against policy, but it is against professionalism.  Bring them in, call their parents and explain to them what was going on and what they were doing,” he added.

By Monday morning, the event being described as “Pushup Gate” in local news, and the mayor commented: “You can’t fix stupid. I think that’s the only explanation here.”

Ironically, one of the boys’ mothers has come out in support of the police.

“The cop did wrong, but I’m glad he tried to teach my son a lesson,” Corinne Marchione told WPRI Monday. “Personally, I don’t think he should be suspended.”

Marchione’s son was reportedly the one driving the car that got pulled over.

What do you think?  Should the police be punished for taking the law into their own hands, or is everyone overreacting?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.