PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The revving of ATVs and dirt bikes could be heard throughout the South Side of Providence Tuesday evening as hundreds of people gathered to demand justice for the victim in an officer-involved moped crash from over the weekend.
Advocates gathered less than two miles from the crash site at Knight Memorial Library Tuesday evening to rally behind Jhamal Gonsalves, 24, whose family tells 12 News remains hospitalized and in a coma.
Gonsalves was rushed to the hospital in critical condition Sunday night immediately following the crash, which occurred as officers were attempting to reel in hundreds of off-road vehicles that took to the city streets.
The officer involved, identified by police as Kyle Endres, appeared to be following Gonsalves down Elmwood Avenue prior to the crash. Cell phone video from a witness shows Gonsalves take an abrupt right turn before losing control of his moped and slamming into a building.
It’s still unclear at this time whether Endres actually hit Gonsalves before he crashed.
Endres, a six-year veteran of the force, has since been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation, which is being primarily conducted by the Providence Police Department.
On Tuesday, Mayor Jorge Elorza promised a thorough investigation.
“We are fully committed to making sure we have a transparent and complete investigation,” Elorza said.
Those who attended the rally ultimately mobilized and began marching down Elmwood Avenue. Smoke filled the air as bikers revved their engines in support of Gonsalves, whose fiancé tells 12 News has a passion for Motocross.
Chris Perry, Gonsalves’ older brother, said their family is not only asking for justice, but for change.
“He’s a hardworking, good kid and he didn’t deserve it,” Perry said. “I just want justice for my brother. I want him to wake up, and I don’t know if he’s going to wake up.”
The rally was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which is calling for an independent investigation into the incident.
“We demand an independent investigation because the police can’t be trusted to investigate themselves,” Party for Socialism and Liberation member Nino Brown said.
The group made their way through the city and ended up outside the Providence Public Safety Complex, where they were met by a metal barricade and dozens of officers in riot gear.
A majority of the crowd dispersed after an hour or so. The situation escalated when a smaller group that stayed behind began lighting off fireworks in close proximity to the officers who were holding the line.
Providence Public Safety Commission Steven Paré tells 12 News one officer was injured after being hit by either a firework or a water bottle that was thrown by someone in the crowd.
The officer’s injuries are minor, according to Paré. He also confirmed 21 people were arrested.
Rhode Island State Police said they also arrested one individual. Patrick Eagle, 22, of Providence has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Eagle was processed at the State Police Headquarters and later arraigned by a Justice of the Peace and released pending a future Sixth Division Court date.
During a Providence police briefing on Wednesday, Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements announced 21 arrests were made, including one juvenile.
The Providence Police Department also posted a statement on Twitter after the night was over.
Gonsalves’ family left long before the rally devolved into chaos. Bernard Tribble, his stepfather, said while they’re thankful for the community’s support, they do not want violence associated with Gonsalves’ name.
Rob Nesbitt, Brandon Truitt, Ryan Welch, Merrill Sampson, Andy Paskowski and Johnny Villella contributed to this report.