Black Lives Matter

More Arrests in 2nd Night of Protests Over Providence Police Crash With Moped

Officials said it could take up to two weeks to complete the investigation and produce a final report on the crash that critically injured a 24-year-old man

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Several more people were arrested when protesters demanding justice for a Rhode Island man injured when the moped he was operating crashed as it was being followed by a police cruiser clashed with police for a second night.

Several dozen protesters marched through the Providence streets on Wednesday night and threw bottles, smoke bombs and rocks at police near the Cranston line at about 10 p.m.

Police in Providence and Cranston said up to eight people were taken into custody, mostly on disorderly conduct charges.

Earlier in the day, Providence officials released partial footage of the crash, but investigators said they have no "definitive, clear video," that shows how a 24-year-old man became critically injured.

Officials did not release body camera videos from the officers who were involved during a briefing Wednesday. Mayor Jorge Elorza said they are "preparing" that footage and will release it "as soon as we can." Investigators are asking the public for any information or video of the incident to help them reconstruct the scene.

Hundreds of people took to the streets Tuesday night to demand an independent investigation into the Sunday crash, where witnesses claim a cruiser struck Jhamal Gonsalves, who is now in the hospital with critical injuries. The protest turned violent after dark, officials said, resulting in 21 arrests.

It could take up to two weeks to complete the investigation and produce a final report on the crash, according to officials, which occurred as police were responding to an estimated 300 ATVs, dirt bikes, mopeds and other vehicles that are deemed illegal to ride on city streets. Attorney General Peter Neronha and Rhode Island State Police are investigating as well.

"My role throughout this entire incident and investigation will be, first and foremost, ensuring that we have a full fair, honest transparent investigation into what happened just a few days ago," Elorza said. "We've reached out to the attorney general's office, instead of either resisting or waiting for them to come, and invited them to be part of this process to ensure that we have a second and independent set of eyes."

Gonsalves' family told WJAR that he was unconscious when he arrived at an area hospital, has been put on a breathing tube and is now in a coma.

What started out as a "very peaceful demonstration," with a "large group," of friends, family and community members gathering to support Gonsalves turned violent after dark Tuesday night, the mayor said.

Of the 21 people who were arrested, nine were from Providence. Sixteen men and five women now face charges that range from resisting arrest and obstruction to disorderly conduct. Arraignments took place Wednesday.

"I know that emotions are running high. There's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of anger and distrust and what I urge all of our residents here in the city of Providence, is to please withhold judgment on exactly what happened. And let's focus on a thorough complete transparent investigation," Elorza said. "That's what we are absolutely committed to."

People were hurling bricks, bottles and fireworks at police, according to Colonel Hugh Clements. An officer and a K-9 have minor injuries but are expected to be ok.

"We have always promoted peaceful assemblages in peaceful protests and will continue to, but what is unacceptable and not tolerable is what took place last night," Clements said. "The men and women of the Providence Police Department did an awesome job - literally under fire - under fire of fireworks, bricks, bottles, rocks, everything you can think of. Incredible restraint amid that chaos and violence."

Black Lives Matter Rhode Island accused the police department of intentionally running down Gonsalves after video surfaced of a cruiser visibly behind the moped Gonsalves' was riding.

Law enforcement officials said they have been in contact with leaders of the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island and that one of those leaders left the demonstration before it turned violent.

"We're not here blaming any of the leaders that may have been there early. It's the people that remain and use the opportunity to assault the police," Commissioner Steven Paré said.

When asked why the body camera footage was withheld Wednesday, Paré said there are "probably," over two dozen cameras, which the department needs time to go through and redact "what is appropriate to redact."

Paré noted that Providence was the first department in New England to fully adopt body cameras several years ago. The department does not have dashboard cameras in their cruisers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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