PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two protesters arrested during a demonstration outside Gov. Dan McKee’s house this past weekend have filed formal complaints against the R.I. State Police.
Joshua Joseph, 38, of Woonsocket, and Tyler Bonin, 32, of East Providence, were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction, and resisting arrest.
Both men claim troopers violated their civil rights and used excessive force while apprehending them.
The demonstration, which was held Friday night outside McKee’s Cumberland home, was in response to the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers which went into effect earlier this month.
Bonin’s father, Reginald Bonin, said his son did nothing wrong when he was approached by what he claims was an undercover officer.
“When a stranger walks up to you and tries to grab you or confront you, you have a right to ask ‘who are you?'” he said.
12 News spoke with Bonin and Joseph at another demonstration outside Kent Hospital Tuesday afternoon, but they declined to comment on the events that unfolded outside McKee’s house.
McKee wasn’t home when the demonstration took place, but said he’s thankful state police were there to keep the peace.
“They have a right to do what they were doing … but bring it to the State House, public settings,” he said of the protesters. “They shouldn’t be impacting families or neighbors.”
Event organizer Paul Rianna blamed McKee for what transpired Friday night.
“This wouldn’t have happened if Dan McKee had met with us,” Rianna said.
R.I. State Police tell 12 News the complaints “have been received and forwarded to the Professional Standards Unit for investigation.”