“We’re here to say that racial profiling is not part of protecting or serving this community. When you have a community that gets pulled over, that gets harassed, because of the color of their skin… no one should be pulled over just because you want to fill a ticket quota…“
On Tuesday Kristen Statser Emmett went on Facebook to talk about the experience of her neighbor, a black man who was allegedly called a racial epitaph and assaulted by a white man. Emmett’s son witnessed the incident. Her neighbor was punched hard enough to almost lose his tooth. In her video, Emmett said “We have to do something. We need to do a protest. We need to do a Black Lives Matter.”
On Wednesday, about 30 members of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, and supporters, were out in front of the East Providence Police Department. The protest was about more than just this one incident. It was about racial profiling in the East Providence Police Department, as noted both in the most recent report available and the lived experience of those attending.
There was some confusion as to whether the victim was allowed to file a police report. According to Police Chief William Nebus, there was a report on file, and he expressed interest in hearing from possible witnesses. But several people said that a report was not taken by police who arrived on the scene. After people spoke and took a knee in protest, there was a substantial back and forth with Chief Nebus.
Here’s the video:
Pastor Carl Jefferson opened the protest with a prayer.
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“No more can you hide behind that thin blue line,” said Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island. “Because we’re coming through… to dismantle that whole system. Because it’s systemic, it’s institutional., and it’s deliberate.”
“We’re here to say that racial profiling is not part of protecting or serving this community,” said Pastor Jefferson, after those in attendance knelt or laid down in protest. “When you have a community that gets pulled over, that gets harassed, because of the color of their skin… no one should be pulled over just because you want to fill a ticket quota…”
“I am raising children who did not even know that word existed,” said Kristen Statser Emmett, whose child witnessed the event and then went inside to ask his mother what the n-word meant. “As soon as he heard it, he knew it wasn’t right. He knew it was hate. There are a lot of moms like me, raising kids to love everybody…”
Here’s the conversation between members of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island and Police Chief Nebus: