I contacted the man who took the video of the altercation between cops and the people arrested last night at Broad and Payton St in South Providence.
"I took the video, I live next door to those arrested. This happened in front of my apartment.”
Why were all those people outside?
"Mostly neighbors, there's always something going down outside on Broad Street, but there were so many cops, it was hard to ignore. So everybody went outside, wanting to see what was going on outside their homes.
"With 30 or 40 something cops outside in a mainly black and latino area, I think people knew to watch and record.”
The police say that they arrested I think 7 adults and one minor. Are they just neighbors who went outside?
"I don’t know, the car thief they found behind a house, there was a big commotion but we couldn’t see. The girls in the video ran over because they’re related to him or live with him so they were looking out for him. Somebody said that they thought the cops were going to kill him, and another told my girlfriend she heard one of the cops tell him, after he had been cuffed and was cooperating, that if he moved he would blow his brains out.”
In your opinion, were the cops justified? Could this have been handled peacefully?
"The girls were yelling at the cops, but the fighting only started when the cops charged at them and started throwing… The cops were completely out of line.
"Nobody attacked the police, at one point in the video you can see them punch and take down that girl and she was still on the sidewalk. She had barely moved, certainly wasn't a threat. She was yelling. Apparently she’s 13.”
[Note: the police report says the young woman was 18.]
That was the lady cop punching her, right?
"Yes, blonde hair. They were all involved though, for each of the girls there were several cops.”
Note: After we published this the person who filmed the altercation wrote to me and said, "Just read your post, you should mention that i mentioned that many of the details (car theft, the girls age, etc) i was told by other onlookers, i was just relaying to you what i had gathered. I don't want it to look like i actually could verify those details, but that i did witness the fight and can confirm that it was without reason, excessive and that the police were the only source of violence."