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Providence Human Relations Commission releases statement on police misconduct



Anti-Racism Committee Denounces the Illegal and Oppressive Tactics of the Providence Police Department

The Providence Human Relations Commission Anti-Racism Committee released a statement today on the incident that led to Jhamal Gonsalves’ life-threatening injuries.

“First, we want the family, friends and community of Jhamal Gonsalves to know that we are with you in the struggle for accountability and justice. We share the anger of our oppressed communities, today and every day, as we battle racism in the fight for our very lives.

After a review of Providence Police Department policy and a discussion with the executive director of the Providence External Review Authority (PERA), the Anti-Racism Committee acknowledges that there are more questions than answers. While the Providence Police Department may wish to argue the facts amidst broad policy, the Anti-Racism Committee acknowledges that morality is based on truth. The Anti-Racism Committee brings to light these three truths:

Truth #1: Jhamal Gonsalves being in a coma was completely preventable.

On October 9th, dozens of ATVs and dirt bikes were crushed by the Providence Police Department. This show of force was calculated recklessness which only exasperated the growing tensions between the community and the Providence Police. Although the Committee recognizes that ATVs and dirt bikes can be dangerous in a city setting, the community had previously proposed an alternative in the form of an ATV park, where riders can more safely engage. Our committee further recognizes the culture of riding associated in Black and Brown communities. We support the continued efforts for possible alternatives, including but not limited to ATV parks, rather than validating the Police Department’s intimidation tactics.

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Truth #2: The sentence for the misdemeanor of riding an unregistered moped should not be a coma.

Never. Furthermore, the police officers trained in first aid, should have sought for immediate medical attention rather than dragging Mr Gonsalves, made clear by videos circulating publicly.

Truth #3: Our communities are angry. Without an independent review, the community cannot be assured of the investigation’s legitimacy. Any internal investigation will pose as a conflict of interest, therefore will fail to answer the questions our communities have.

Because we are left with more questions than answers, at a minimum, there should be an independent review.

In conclusion, we expect the Providence Police Department to fully cooperate with each and every aspect of PERA’s review in order to begin restoring the faith and confidence of the community they serve.”

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