Policing

Parents hold press conference after police beat, pepper spray and arrest their children

“They had us in the back of a van for almost an hour,” said Zyrray. The temperature reached the high 90s on Tuesday. “We’re yelling, we’re screaming… Just open the doors! You don’t even have to turn on the AC. It’s hot, just open the doors. If we leave a dog in a car for friggin’ 20 minutes we’re getting arrested.”
Photo for Parents hold press conference after police beat, pepper spray and arrest their children

Published on July 1, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

Toward the end of the press conference Taffii Moore made her demands.

“We’re demanding for the Providence Police to make a public apology and some firing to happen for the Providence Police who initiated it,” said Moore, whose children were assaulted, directly or as collateral damage, by police officers on Tuesday, June 29 outside her Sayles Street home. “Some of these Providence Police Officers are repeat offenders where they are beating your children, our children, and they’re not being held accountable for it. So we’re asking for them to be retrained, apologize, [and] fired if they’re repeat offenders.

“We’re asking to defund the police. We’re asking for the Law Enforcement [Officer’s] Bill of Rights to be repealed, and not reformed.”

See: Providence Police officers pepper sprayed and beat our children, say Moms

Tara Dorsey

The press conference started with friend of the family Tara Dorsey speaking to press, activists and concerned neighbors, explaining how she came to be involved.

“Yesterday I got a call… and my friend was very distressed,” said Dorsey. “She said that her family members, children and family members, were beaten and pepper sprayed by police.” Dorsey watched the videos taken by family members and friends who were assaulted and arrested by police. She saw the marks on 14 year-old Rashad’s back.

“I wanted to cry,” said Dorsey.

Taffi Moore

“I’m the mother of one adult child and three children that were assaulted [and] pepper sprayed by the Providence Police,” said Taffii Moore. “We were behind our property line when [police officers] attacked us. They attacked our children. They attacked everybody that was in this home. If you were recording, they attacked. They pepper sprayed you.”

Moore went on to describe, sometimes barely containing her distress, a brutal scene of laughing children being pepper sprayed, children being pulled out of her yard and slammed into the paddy wagon before being handcuffed and tossed inside. “They had their knees in my daughter’s face, beating and punching her, yelling at her that she was a man as we were telling them she’s not a man, she’s a woman…”

“My one year old grandson was sprayed. My five-year old granddaughter was pepper sprayed,” continued Moore. “They were looking right at them, and pepper sprayed them. Pepper spraying them. They didn’t care that they were children. There was no need for them to pepper spray anybody…

“We weren’t aggressive. We weren’t argumentative. We weren’t doing none of that…”

Zyrray Moore

21 year-old Zyrray Moore is Taffii Moore’s daughter, who police misgendered as they arrested her and charged her with assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct and obstruction.

“It was a pretty crazy situation,” said Zyrray. “Just us trying to be protective of our young ones and our family.”

As Zyrray tried to explain to the officers beating and arresting her 14 year old brother that he has medical conditions they need to be aware of, “I… got punched in the face by several officers as I tried to explain to them that I’m not resisting arrest, there’s no reason for you guys to have your feet on my neck – stuff like that…

“They put me inside the van. I could still hear everything going on outside. I can’t see. There were no lights. And then I hear the putting my cousin and my other cousin in the van…” continued Zyrray, fighting back emotion. Zyrray continued, “And they’re just crying, they can’t see, and me being older, I’m trying to keep them calm. Singing music, doing something because everything they’ve been through and we’ve been through, its a lot so for them [police officers] to want to protect and serve, what they’re supposed to do? They didn’t do anything like that.”

“They had us in the back of a van for almost an hour,” said Zyrray. The temperature reached the high 90s on Tuesday. “We’re yelling, we’re screaming… Just open the doors! You don’t even have to turn on the AC. It’s hot, just open the doors. If we leave a dog in a car for friggin’ 20 minutes we’re getting arrested.”

Tara Dorsey said that there will be more videos released by the family. “In one of the videos you can see an officer ripping off his body cam.”

A neighbor counted 18 police cars, a paddy wagon, a fire truck and a rescue responding to the scene. Watching from across the street, the neighbor recounted a scene in which she saw police officers acting as aggressors.

Since UpriseRI broke this story yesterday, there has been little word from Mayor Jorge Elorza or Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré other than this, from the Mayor’s Chief of External Affairs, Theresa Agonia:

The Providence Police Department is actively working to redact identities of youth and release the body cam footage captured during the incident on Sayles St. on June 29. This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with video or an account of the incident is encouraged to send them to the Providence Police Department Office of Professional Responsibility by calling (401)272-3121.

UpriseRI would prefer that such video be sent to us.

Some elected officials attended the press conference, including Senator Tiara Mack (Democrat, District 6, Providence), Representatives Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (Democrat, District 5, Providence) and Jose Batista (Democrat, District 12, Providence) and Providence City Councilmembers Katherine Kerwin (Ward 12) and Rachel Miller (Ward 13).

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