Policing

Black Lives Matter RI calls Sayles St incident ‘one of the worst assaults in Rhode Island history’

“Me and the neighbor were having words in the street,” said Juan, 17-years old. “The police rushed into the yard, grabbed me, brought me to the middle of the street, started beating me and my cousin. Pepper sprayed us. They were saying I was hitting them when I had my hands up. They locked us in the back of a paddy wagon, over 100 degrees, no AC. I’m burning, saying I can’t breathe… It felt like torture…”
Photo for Black Lives Matter RI calls Sayles St incident ‘one of the worst assaults in Rhode Island history’

Published on July 3, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

“We’re here at the Complex over the assault of these young kids,” said Gary Dantzler, founder of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island (BLM RI), standing with a crowd of about 30 people outside the Providence Public Safety Complex on Friday afternoon. “It’s amazing that we live in this time and this day where police are brutalizing Black and brown people again.

“This is why we talk about defunding the police… We pay the police to protect us… It’s disgusting. I’m ashamed of these police,” said Dantzler. “It’s horrible that we pay our tax dollars to these savages that go around assaulting our kids… This is one of the worst assaults in Rhode Island history.”

BLM RI has helped the family secure lawyers “for their protection.” And they are in the process of finding counseling for the affected children and adults.

Gary Dantzler

Tara Dorsey, activist, advocate and friend of the families involved, acted as emcee.

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“To be honest, I feel like none of that should ever have happened,” said 14-year old Rashad, who was beaten by police during his arrest, leaving bruises on his body. “We shouldn’t have to go walking through the streets thinking that a cop might pull up on us and try something.”

During the incident on Sayles Street, outside his home, “they beat me and my cousin and they pepper sprayed us multiple times,” said Rashad about the police.

“Rashad was only protecting his cousin, Juan,” said Taffii Moore, Rashad’s mother. About the argument with neighbors that preceded the incident, Moore said, “It was just kids, going back and forth with words, and then the police attacked.

Rashad

“Their tactics and the way they handled the situation was just completely uncalled for,” said Taffi Moore’s daughter, 21-year old Zyrray Moore, who was arrested and charged with assault, obstruction and assaulting a police officer. Before, during and after her arrest, Zyrray appears to have been targeted by an officer with anti-LGBTQ animus because of the way she presents as a queer Black woman. Police kept Zyrray Moore and two of her arrested, minor nephew and niece in the back of a police van “for an hour.” The temperature on Tuesday evening was in the high nineties.

“And them, telling me that I’m a he/she and all that, you know, at the end of the day I’m a female, I know I am,” said Zyrray. “And if I’m telling you, I shouldn’t have to go through that. It’s just as simple as take my word for it.”

“Definitely defunding the police, a public apology to me and my family,” said Zyrray when asked about what she would like to see happen next. “There’s a list…”

Zyrray Moore
Video of Officer 52 seemingly targeting and misgendering a queer Black woman

“Me and the neighbor were having words in the street,” said Juan, 17-years old. “The police rushed into the yard, grabbed me, brought me to the middle of the street, started beating me and my cousin. Pepper sprayed us. They were saying I was hitting them when I had my hands up. They locked us in the back of a paddy wagon, over 100 degrees, no AC. I’m burning, saying I can’t breathe… It felt like torture…”

“The way I feel about this is that this needs to be stopped to be honest,” said 14-year old Rashid, Rashad’s twin brother. “The cops are ruthless and nobody’s doing anything about it. It’s crazy. Bullshit. Somebody should do something about this. This shouldn’t be happening.”

“I want to reiterate what my daughter said,” said Raymond Lee, Zyrray’s father. Lee recorded the initial video released on social media of the incident. “Those animals were kneeling on my daughters head and neck until I had to tell them ‘That’s my daughter! That’s my daughter!’ I didn’t want to se her being the female George Floyd…

“The sergeant with the glasses, the little old man, decided to punch on an already handcuffed woman.”

“I don’t trust law enforcement as a whole because they cover up the things that they do,” said Lee. “There was no need for what happened, absolutely no need… There was one-year old that got pepper sprayed.

Tara Dorsey noted that since the story got into the media, the family has been harassed by hateful phone calls from people spewing racial epitaphs.


Later Friday the Providence Police Department released two more redacted police body camera videos.

Providence Police Commander Verdi watches from the wind
Juan, 14-years old

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