Connect with us

Civil Rights

Family of Jhamal Gonsalves responds to police body cam footage

Published

on

There are eyewitnesses. You heard one of them on the body cam. He saw exactly what happened… He didn’t have the video in frame [but] he saw it and that’s evidence as well. It doesn’t have to be caught on video for it to actually have happened.”


Jhamal Gonsalves “is still critical condition, still in a coma, [and] has a very long way to go,” said his mother, Tia Tribble, at a press conference held by the family outside the Court House on Dorrance Street in Providence Monday afternoon. Gonsalves, 24, was riding his moped when a police cruiser impacted him, sending him to the hospital eight days ago. Since then, there have been protests and prayers and questions raised about the actions of the Providence Police that led to the tragedy and called into question the professionalism of the officers involved in response.

Here’s most of the press conference. I missed the first few minutes but caught it courtesy of Bill Bartholomew’s live stream here.

Today Providence city officials released police officer body cam footage, none of which shows exactly how Gonsalves was injured, but does show officers tugging the arm of his unresponsive body, administering Narcan, and discussing whether or not to remove Gonsalves helmet before EMTs were on the scene.

“The footage was upsetting and extremely difficult for the family,” said Jude Kerrison of Karns & Kerrison, the lawyer retained by the family. “For anyone to see a loved one in that condition would be traumatic.”

The family remains confident that the questions raised by the footage will be answered. The family asks for patience and restraint from the public.


Can you help us?

Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

Become a Patron!
Opens in a new tab - you won't lose you place

“The family has consistently asked that any public demonstrating be peaceful,” said Kerrison. “Jhamal’s father Mark has asked that any demonstrations done during the day be concluded before dark. We again, asked the people to continue to demonstrate their support, and raise their voice, but we also ask that everyone remain peaceful.”

Three protests have been held in the wake of Gonsalves’ injuries, arrests and altercations with the police occurred at two of them. Throughout the family has called for peace and disavowed violent protest in their son’s name.

Attorney Kerrison made note of the fact that Officer Kyle Endres, who was driving the vehicle that impacted Gonsalves’ moped, was on his radio shortly before the incident. “We would be interested in knowing what was said at that moment.”

The fact that there was a discussion about removing Gonsalves helmet, while he lay unresponsive on the street, was “concerning” said Kerrison.

Even without a video showing the moment of impact, the family is confident that they can know what happened. “There are eyewitnesses. You heard one of them on the body cam. He saw exactly what happened… He didn’t have the video in frame [but] he saw it and that’s evidence as well. It doesn’t have to be caught on video for it to actually have happened.”

When Mark Gonsalves spoke about the police administering Narcan to his unresponsive son, he struggled to find the words.

“I work with people in the community with mental illness and addiction and to see an officer pull out Narcan which he’s prepared with, and then saying he doesn’t know how to use it – I was a little disappointed with some of the professionalism, some of the empathy involved,” said Mark Gonsalves. “To assume, because maybe – I’m not saying it’s out of – as far as racially – I don’t know this officer’s or any of the officer’s background so I’m not accusing race being a part, but to just assume – It’s kind of questionable. Why would you assume after you see him riding fine, and then, all of a sudden, because he’s on the ground, talking about Narcan… it upset me…”

See also:

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com