PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The FBI has opened an investigation into a violent and destructive night in Providence last week, which resulted in dozens of arrests.
During the late-night hours of June 1, hundreds of people converged in front of the Providence Place Mall to demand justice for George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
The situation quickly devolved into violence when people began storming the mall, damaging city property and looting nearby businesses. Outside the mall, a Providence police cruiser was heavily damaged then set on fire.
Police said 65 people were arrested throughout the night and nine officers were injured after people began throwing bricks at them.
Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Col. James Manni condemned the violence and called it “an intentional, coordinated attack on the city.”
“This was a mob, this was not protesters,” Manni said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday they’re working closely with the FBI to investigate the incident further.
“We have made a handful of arrests, we will continue to make arrests the more we learn but we don’t know yet exactly who did it,” she said.
Police have already arrested a 21-year-old Warwick woman who was captured on video jumping on top of the police cruiser moments before it was set on fire. Detectives have also identified two potential suspects in the arson.
The FBI said they are committed to apprehending and charging “violent instigators who are exploiting peaceful protests.”
The FBI is accepting tips, as well as photos and videos depicting the crimes being committed, online. Tips are also being accepted by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324).