3rd Providence police officer disciplined for Sayles Street incident

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police officials say a third officer is facing consequences for his alleged actions during a dispute among a large group of people last month.

Police have decided to discipline Officer Wilkens Georges after conducting a review of the June 29 incident on Sayles Street, according to Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré.

Georges faces summary punishment of up to two days’ suspension and will receive a letter of reprimand, Paré said.

Residents who were involved in the incident publicly complained in the days that followed, saying some of them were forcibly arrested and hit with batons and police used pepper spray on the crowd which included children.

Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements responded to the claims, saying pepper spray “was used according to policy” since the crowd had become hostile, adding that the neighborhood had repeatedly been a problem for police, with officers having responded there three times that night and a total of 42 times over the past year and a half.

Clements and Paré said they won’t comment on whether they believe appropriate force was used by police until the investigation is complete, but noted there was no excuse for language some of the officers were heard using in the body camera footage.

Five people were arrested during the incident on charges including assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Shortly after the incident, Target 12 learned that Sgt. Gregory Paolo put in for retirement after he had been placed on administrative leave while the incident was investigated.

This past weekend, Officer Patrick Hourahan was suspended for 10 days as a result of the incident.

A GoFundMe set up to support Hourahan raised more than $20,000 in three days.

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