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Providence civilian oversight board calls for independent review of Sergeant Hanley investigation



I think the community is exhausted with letting the police, police themselves.

The Providence External Review Authority (PERA) is, for the first time since being empaneled in April 2018, exercising its discretion under Chapter 18 1⁄2 – 2 §(h)(1) of the Providence Code of Ordinances and calling for an independent review of the ongoing internal investigation regarding allegations made against Sergeant Joseph Hanley.

Hanley was “suspended with pay and charged with simple assault after he struck a handcuffed man during an arrest in April,” according to the Providence Journal.

In a letter sent to the Providence Police Department on Monday morning, Jose F Batista, the executive director of PERA said the following: 

“I am designating our investigator at PERA, Mr Eugene Monteiro, to schedule a time to be briefed by your department on this matter as soon as possible. 

Mr Monteiro is a native of Providence with life long relationships in both the community and police department who has enjoyed an unimpeachable career as a professional investigator in both the military and private sector. 

I have the utmost confidence that he will be able to manage this review while strictly adhering to any and all applicable local, state and federal laws.” 

Since being empaneled in April 2018, PERA has had a singular goal: to build a sustainable, effective and impartial police oversight infrastructure comprised of, for and by civilians. 

These efforts include: retaining the services of mediation and investigative professionals, becoming part of the national network of over 200 civilian oversight boards across the country, and several rounds of consensus building meetings with a diverse spectrum of stakeholders including community activists, police union leadership and civil rights attorneys. 

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Like millions of organizations and individuals across the world, PERA is embracing virtual technology as a means to continue its work and adjusting to a world post COVID. 

“I think the community is exhausted with letting the police, police themselves,” said Mr Machiste Rankin, the vice-chair of PERA and life long resident of Providence’s east side. 

PERA is an independent and impartial civilian oversight board comprised of nine volunteer civilians who are authorized by City Ordinance to: review Providence Police Department policies and procedures, review complaints regarding the same and to conduct community outreach so as to inform and empower the Providence community.

[From a press release]

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The hardest working news organization in Rhode Island! Uprise RI was founded in 2017 by Steve Ahlquist, and focuses on civil liberties, social justice, and human rights.