Elorza and Paré don’t seem to see the cliff they’re walking along.
Having not seen video of the incident, nobody should be assuming that Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and his public safety commissioner, Steven Paré, are exaggerating when they say, as Steph Machado reports for WPRI, that these officers used excessive force:
The arrests of the two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old took place in the early hours of July 9, after the teens allegedly led police on a wild chase through Providence in a BMW convertible with tinted windows [and Wyoming plates]. They’re accused of pointing a BB gun that looked like a rifle at multiple people including a police officer, and speeding and running red lights during the hours-long event.
The chase ended when the driver of the BMW crashed into a fire hydrant on Salmon Street.
An initial police report written after the incident says nothing about force being used against the teens, only describing them as being “brought to the ground” and placed in handcuffs.
Still, Elorza and Paré should have simply offered no editorial comment and simply referred to the ongoing investigation.
Even the head of the local police union hasn’t seen the video, so the environment is ripe for speculation and rumor during a time that policing has been sucked into the culture war, and the city’s administration hasn’t exactly built the reputation for being too supportive of police. It’s starting to feel like the mayor is against his own police force, which won’t end well.
Featured image by Fred Moon on Unsplash.