Policing

Moms Demand condemns PVD police violence, calls for legislative action on police conduct

“Law enforcement are charged with de-escalating violent situations, but in this instance, they have shirked that duty,” said Christine Bandoni, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Beating and spitting at children during an arrest is unacceptable and deeply disturbing behavior that fractures community trust in police and inhibits public safety in our state. These officers must be held accountable, and our lawmakers must act to change state laws that prevent accountability.”
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Published on August 20, 2021
By Rhode Island Chapter of Moms Demand Action

The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement today in response to footage released by the Providence Police Department of officers using “excessive force” while apprehending three teenagers accused of using BB guns to shoot at people and buildings throughout the city of Providence. The footage, which captured the July arrest on King Street in Providence, “shows the police brandishing their handguns at the teenagers, all between the ages of 15 and 16, inside a convertible before a large group of officers begin to converge, with some throwing the teenagers to the ground, repeatedly spitting at and punching them while they are restrained,” writes Moms Demand. “One of the teens is shown not resisting the officers, and can be heard screaming, moaning, and crying during the violent scuffle. Two Providence police officers involved in the arrests are currently under active criminal investigation for their use of force.”

“Law enforcement are charged with de-escalating violent situations, but in this instance, they have shirked that duty,” said Christine Bandoni, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Beating and spitting at children during an arrest is unacceptable and deeply disturbing behavior that fractures community trust in police and inhibits public safety in our state. These officers must be held accountable, and our lawmakers must act to change state laws that prevent accountability.”

Providence Police Officers Domingo Diaz and Mitchel Voyer remain on Administrative Leave with pay until the review of this incident is complete,” says the Department.

“In states like Rhode Island, police accountability is crucial to keeping communities safe and ensuring responsible police practices, especially given other recent instances of police violence,” continued Moms Demand in their press release. “During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers in the Rhode Island General Assembly introduced several bills that would increase police accountability, make the disciplinary process more transparent, and create stronger legal standards to prevent police violence, including: 

  • H6152 / S0865, which would reform the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBoR) by renaming it the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Accountability Act”, expanding civilian involvement and oversight in the disciplinary process, allowing law enforcement agencies more ability to comment publicly on active investigations, and making other significant reforms; 
  • S0773, which would repeal LEOBoR in its entirety; and
  • H5993 / S0597, which would, among other things, create a statewide use-of-force standard, establishing a duty to report and intervene when officers use excessive force.

The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action is one of many groups calling for the reform of police accountability laws in Rhode Island, including the reform or repeal of LEOBoR. At 5pm Friday evening the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC (BLM RI PAC) will be holding a rally outside the Providence Public Safety Complex to demand the repeal of LEOBoR in response to the release of the videos.

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