Investigation underway after man dies following interaction with Providence officers


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ An investigation has been launched into the death of a man following a “minor struggle” with officers, according to Providence Police.

The Providence Police Department released body camera footage of the incident that took place early Friday morning.

Police said around 12:30 a.m., officers responded to Collyer Street for reports of a man screaming in the middle of the street. Responding officers found the man, identified as 34-year-old Joseph Ventre, in a nearby field, screaming while rolling around in the grass, appearing to be under the influence of narcotics.

The body-worn camera footage shows the officers attempting to speak with Ventre, who did not respond to them. In the video, officers discuss the possibility that Ventre is on drugs, and ask him what he has taken.

“As police attempted to speak with Mr. Ventre, he began pacing back and forth, rolling in the dirt at times, and not answering questions asked by police,” spokesperson Lindsay Lague wrote in a press release Friday night. “Police immediately requested the Providence Fire Department to the scene to assist.”

Police said because of his erratic behavior, the officers attempted to handcuff Ventre to prevent him from injuring himself or others.

The video shows Ventre struggling with officers just before firefighters responded with a stretcher. The first responders lifted him onto the stretcher.

Once inside the rescue, police said first responders began performing CPR on Ventre. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death is under investigation.

The R.I. Attorney General’s office and Rhode Island State Police are investigating the incident along with Providence Police, per the state’s use-of-force protocol.

The Police Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is also investigating internally and will review additional body camera footage, Lague said.

Lague said no officers who were involved have been placed on administrative leave at this time.

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