We have to be aware of the narrative involved in the Providence car chase controversy.

John DePetro has some details about the Providence police’s car chase of a BMW with three teens shooting BB guns out the windows:

Following this incident, the Providence Police began reviewing the circumstances of the arrest of one of the vehicle’s occupants, including any injuries sustained and the use of force involved. Late last week, we invoked the Attorney General’s statewide use of force protocol, and pursuant to that protocol, an investigation was commenced by the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General, the Providence Police Department and the Rhode Island State Police. At this time, Providence Police Officers Domingo Diaz and Mitchel Voyer have been suspended with pay. The investigation is ongoing involving two 15-years-old and one 16 ( one white, one black, one Latino).

Perhaps more relevant to understanding what’s going on in our state more broadly, DePetro also presented a Facebook post from Direct Actions for Rights and Equality from July 17 requesting “court support” for the teens.  According to DARE (which offers no details about what the boys had been doing leading up to their accident), the more-severely injured was also in a car crash a year ago that left him in a coma.  DARE, a non-profit operating on several hundred thousand dollars per year, also asserts without evidence that “white supremacists attempted to burn [the Sayles St.] family alive in their home.”  The group pledges to “continue to work towards long term divestment from police and prisons.”

The involvement of DARE helps explain why Mayor Jorge Elorza and his public safety commissioner felt the need to make premature statements to the public.

Every story and incident has to be evaluated on its own merits, but it has to be part of the news story and our analysis that there are activists promoting them as part of a radical agenda.  These controversies don’t come into our awareness based on a dispassionate assessment that a particular officer used excessive force against a particular suspect after a particular incident.  They are chosen, framed, and promoted as part of a narrative, and that narrative has as its theme destruction.  Burning something down.

DARE chooses to use the logo shown as the featured image of this post; that is the image that speaks to them as representative of their mission, and our understanding of controversies is incomplete if we are not aware of it.

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