PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Police released two new videos Wednesday showing events just before a crash that seriously injured a Black man on a moped that was being followed by a Providence police cruiser — but neither helped resolve whether the cruiser struck the moped, as witnesses have said.
Jhamal Gonsalves, 24, was injured Sunday afternoon as police responded to reports of hundreds of dirt bikes, ATVs and other street-illegal vehicles roaring around the streets of Rhode Island’s capital. Family members say Gonsalves is in a coma.
As many as 700 people participated in what started as a peaceful rally Tuesday night in support of Gonsalves, city Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Pare said at a news conference Wednesday.
The protesters, many riding dirt bikes and ATVs, were peaceful from 6 p.m. until about 8 p.m. Mayor Jorge Elorza said.
Many of them chanted “Black Lives Matter” and carried signs with the letters BLM on them.
Most protesters had dispersed by the time about 150 who remained started throwing fireworks, bricks and bottles at police in riot gear outside police headquarters, Pare said.
Five officers were hit by thrown objects, and one was taken to the hospital with what Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements called a “concussion-type injury.”
Twenty-one people, including one juvenile, were arrested on charges including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, Pare said.
Gonsalves’ family, who said he is a competitive motocross rider, had left the area by the time the violence started, and his father said he does not condone violence.
Witnesses say the cruiser responding to Sunday’s complaints about street-illegal vehicles struck the moped. A video that circulated on social media shows the cruiser behind the moped but does not show an impact.
Pare released two more videos Wednesday that had not previously been made public, neither of which shows a collision, though a noise near the end of one resembles that of a traffic impact.
The state attorney general’s office is leading what Elorza promised will be a transparent investigation to determine whether there is any criminal liability.
The officer involved has been placed on desk duty while the investigation proceeds.
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