Connect with us

Civil Rights

Germaine Bruce was helping a friend start her car. Then the police arrived…

“They just started hitting me in my ribs. I was like, ‘You guys are taking this way too far.’ They grabbed me, picked me up. ‘We’re arresting you now for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct,’ said the cops and I’m like, ‘Why did this even get to the point where I’m getting arrested?'”

Published

on

Providence resident Germaine Bruce, 26, was arrested by Providence Police officers early Sunday morning, November 8, 2020, on Wickendon Street near the intersection of Hope Street, for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He posted videos on Facebook, and Uprise spoke to him on Monday afternoon, November 9. On Friday, November 13, the Providence Police Department released body camera footage from one of the officers on the scene, along with a statement from Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza in which he committed to “a transparent community policing strategy that builds trust with residents and responds to our community’s needs.” (See below)

“I got a phone call from my friend around 1:30am, and they said that their car broke down, and I was going to go get food regardless, and I was going to go that way because I was going to get Chinese food [at Chinatown on Thayer Street],” said Bruce. “So they send me their location, and I’m driving to them, and there’s three cars, before I get there. There’s some guy I don’t know, then there’s two girls that I know who had two separate cars, and my car was the fourth one.”

“So the black car in the video that was facing the opposite way, was the one that was jumping the car that broke down,” said Bruce. This white car was driven by one of the young women that Germaine knew at the scene. The cars were parked engine to engine to allow for the jumper cables to connect the two cars.

When Bruce arrives, his thinking was that the battery in the black car wasn’t strong enough to jump the white car. The black car moved behind the white car, parked against traffic to make room for the man Germaine didn’t know to come over and offer to help. The unknown man said he had a truck, with more power and offered the use of larger cables.

“So a cop drives by,” said Bruce. “He didn’t say anything. he didn’t do anything. He just drives by, turns around and parks behind my car. He’s three cars down.”


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 police officer “walks towards the car and he’s just standing there, watching us. I asked him, like, ‘Are you going to help us? Are you here to help us?’ He was like, ‘No, that’s not our job.’ Then my comment was, ‘You probably voted for Trump’ or ‘Biden’ or some stupid comment like that. So I’m not going to argue with him. I’m just here to help my friend get her car started,” said Bruce.

“So me and my friends are having a little debate, a discussion. I’m just there trying to start the car, trying to work, and then, come to find out, just like three to five minutes later, more cops come. I’m like, ‘Wait, what’s going on?’ More cops come. There’s like eight or nine cops. Three on on the other side of the road, there’s like four in the middle of the road, and there’s two more coming. So I’m like, ‘Are you guys all coming here to watch us?”

“So let me get this straight,” interrupted Uprise. “There’s between eight and ten police cars surrounding you now.”

“Yes.”

“So I’m already getting frustrated because I’m trying to start the car, and they’re just watching,” continued Bruce. “And I’m like, ‘You guys aren’t going even to help us? How does that even look? What are you doing?’ And then one cop came over and he tried to help me. I kept thanking him. I was like, ‘Thank you officer.’ There’s so many cops here just staring at us, watching us. They see us struggling and they’re are doing nothing. What are they here for?”

😔😔 🗣🗣🗣🗣 my first amendment is freedom of speech regardless what I said theses officer abused there power , , I’m not the…

Posted by Germaine Bruce on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Here are some more videos I got today from Janelle Hazard , I was very civil , yes I had a lil attitude cause look how…

Posted by Germaine Bruce on Monday, November 9, 2020

“So we did something with the starter. We tapped the starter or something, so after that didn’t work, the tow truck’s coming. And we’re like ‘Oh, you guys are going to tow the car that was broken down, because we called AAA. They were coming. But the tow truck that was coming wasn’t for the white car. It was for the black car that was facing the wrong way. The girl that called me was getting frustrated, like, ‘Why are you towing my car when I’m just helping? We’re helping this person because their car died.'”

The police told them that they were going to tow the cars.

“I was like, ‘So you guys are towing my car too?’ and they were like, ‘No, you’re parked, you’re good.’ and I was like, ‘Okay, good.'”

But then the mood changed.

“All of a sudden I thought, something’s going to happen,” said Bruce. “Before I started recording, my friend was getting frustrated and I didn’t record the part where they said they were going to tow. I told one officer, ‘Could you please get your hand off your gun, please? Nobody is doing anything, nobody is putting you guys in harm’s way. I had my hands up. I was looking at the body camera, like, ‘Yo, nobody’s trying to do anything. I don’t know why you guys feel threatened.’

A police officer ordered Germaine to get onto the sidewalk, which he did. “That’s when I started recording.”

Bruce said that at this point the young woman whose car was about to be towed became extremely frustrated. “As I’m recording, I’m like, ‘Why are they really towing her car?'” said Bruce. “And I stepped off the curb to ask that one officer, like, ‘Not to be a dickhead, but what you guys are doing is not cool.’ And then, as soon as I stepped off the curb, he’s like, ‘You have to get back on the curb.’ I was like ‘Okay’ and got back on the curb.”

“Some random guy, not my friend, grabbed me and was walking me just to like, make sure something didn’t happen. And as I turned around, still recording, the officers are following. One of them reaches back, I thought he was going to grab his gun, but he grabbed his handcuffs. So I started fading back more. As soon as I started fading back two officers started approaching me and I was like, ‘I didn’t do nothing. There’s no reason why I’m getting arrested.’ I could see if I did a crime, or cussed them out, but my mouth was shut. I said, ‘No disrespect,’ I said ‘Not to be a dickhead.’

“I stepped back, and all of a sudden the cop just started attacking me. He grabbed my neck. He choked me and did like a hip twist, a hip toss, and that’s when you see me on the ground screaming, ‘I didn’t do nothing. I really didn’t do nothing to you guys. I didn’t do nothing to you. There’s no reason for this.’

“They just started hitting me in my ribs. I was like, ‘You guys are taking this way too far.’ They grabbed me, picked me up. ‘We’re arresting you now for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct,’ said the cops and I’m like, ‘Why did this even get to the point where I’m getting arrested?'”

“If I did something I know I did, I wouldn’t mind being arrested,” said Bruce. “I have a right to ask why I’m getting arrested. Not just attacked, arrested and then beat up. That makes no sense. That’s like saying the cops can go to anybody walking down the street and arrest them.

“They started beating me up in the car, punching my ribs, because I wanted to know why I was being arrested. One of them did an elbow chop to my leg, they kept repeatedly hitting me with their elbow or they took the baton out and hit me one or two times. My legs folded and then one officer got in my face and choked me to the seat and said, ‘You really want me to pepper spray you and sit you in this car?’

“I was like, ‘No. You guys are really doing some fucked up shit. I don’t even know why I’m getting arrested and going to jail now,'” said Bruce.

“When I was in the car, asking the person that was driving me to the police station what’s his badge number, what’s everybody’s badge number, he was like, ‘We don’t got one,”” said Bruce. “I was like ”No, you are required to give me your badge number.’ He was like, ‘No, we don’t have one.’ I was like ‘No, you guys are taking this as a joke,’ and he was like, ‘555, 555, 5555.’

“When I get to the police station everybody in there is giving me attitude and I was like, ‘I really did nothing. I wish I could show you, on my phone, that I really did nothing.’

“I know I didn’t say anything out of turn to make them approach me in that way,” said Bruce.

“I think it wasn’t right for how the police went about it. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing cops but there are also a lot of bad cops. I understand they’re trying to protect themselves but not every human is bad. So, just show us respect and we will do the same,” said Bruce.

Germaine Bruce is holding two events on Saturday, starting with a walk for justice at India Point Park starting at 2pm on Saturday:

Worked into that march will be drive for Thanksgiving donations.

A GoFundMe created by Bruce’s sister shows injuries Bruce sustained during the arrest.

Here’s the press release and video released by the Providence Police Department on Friday:

Providence Police release body camera footage related to November 8th Wickenden Street incident

On November 8, 2020 at approximately 02:39 hours, Providence Police were on routine patrol in the area of Wickenden and Hope Streets when they observed four vehicles in the middle of the outbound traffic lane with a number of subjects surrounding one of the vehicles. In an effort to clear the intersection appropriately, police proceeded to render aide and inquire if the individuals needed assistance. The subjects involved proceeded to become combative and hostile towards police, refusing to move their vehicles. As a result of this incident, and pursuant to police policy regarding adverse compliance, two adults and one juvenile subject were arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest and Obstructing a Police Officer while in the Execution of Duty and this incident will continue to be under review.

“Community members have reached out regarding an interaction that took place between individuals and PPD officers on Wickenden St this past weekend and we are proactively releasing body camera footage while it is under review,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Our Police Department is committed to a transparent community policing strategy that builds trust with residents and responds to our community’s needs.”

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