On Tuesday November 10th, Executive Director of the Providence External Review Authority (PERA), Jose Batista, released copies of two videos depicting brutal assaults by Providence Police Sergeant Joseph Hanley and other officers against a young Black man who was handcuffed throughout the assault. Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) stands in solidarity not just with Director Batista for this significant act of police accountability and transparency, but also with all survivors of violence and racists acts by the Providence Police Department.
“The City set up PERA to fail by not providing it enough resources or support. Once Providence police realized that PERA has no real power and that the Mayor would rather take a nap than be a real leader, police started terrorizing our city without fear of repercussions,” said co-Executive Director Vanessa Flores-Maldonado. “People in Providence, especially Black people, are not safe as long as the police are allowed to beat people, make up false charges, and then cover up their crimes by keeping public records secret.”
This is evident with the recent case of Jonas Pierre, a young Black man who was given a concussion by Providence police while peacefully protesting on July 23. After beating him, police charged Pierre with the same misdemeanors they describe as “officer annoyed” in police training materials. In October, a squad of undercover “intelligence” bureau officers teamed up with a former radio talk show host and white-supremacist groups to use Pierre as a scapegoat for their “purge of Providence” social media drama, inventing a new petty misdemeanor charge.
“We call on the PERA Board, City Council, and the Mayor’s office to support Director Batista in holding the Providence Police accountable for their violence. More police officers, more trainings, more body cams are not the answer in keeping our communities safe,” said Flores-Maldonado.