Protesters demand end to ‘police terror’ in Providence


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Dozens of people have returned to the streets of Providence for the fourth night in a row, demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality.

The protest, dubbed “Put an End to Police Terror,” began at Classical High School.

The group peacefully marched all throughout the city for two hours while officers in riot gear monitored the situation.

At one point, the protesters attempted to advance onto Atwells Avenue where people were outside eating during the weekly “Al Fresco on the Hill.”

In response, officers lined the roadways and blocked off access to and from Federal Hill. The protesters then began chanting at the officers, “Move aside so we can continue our march.”

The protest comes nearly one week after a 24-year-old man was critically injured in an officer-involved moped crash.

Jhamal Gonsalves was rushed to the hospital Sunday night immediately following the crash, which occurred on Elmwood Avenue. Gonsalves, according to his family, is currently in a coma.

Gonsalves’ cousin, Jaylon Butler, briefly attended Friday night’s protest and urged the group to remain peaceful.

“I just want to tell him [Jhamal], we’re out here still fighting,” Butler said. “I’m still standing, we just want you to come home, we all miss you out here, we need you to wake up and know that you have all the support you need. We’re doing our hardest to make sure we get you justice peacefully.”

The night of the incident, officers in Providence were attempting to reel in hundreds of off-road vehicles that took to the city streets.

Prior to the crash, it appears a Providence Police cruiser, which the department said was being driven by officer Kyle Endres, was following Gonsalves down Elmwood Avenue.

Cell phone video from a witness shows Gonsalves take an abrupt right turn onto Bissell Street before losing control of his moped and slamming into a building.

Providence Public Safety Commission Steven Paré released two new videos leading up to the crash Wednesday, neither of which show whether Gonsalves was hit by Endres’ cruiser.

The incident has sparked outrage throughout the city. Cell phone video of the crash continues to make its rounds on social media, and two initially peaceful protests that occurred earlier this week quickly devolved into chaos once the sun went down.

A third gathering, which occurred Thursday night, prompted a massive police response to the Providence/Cranston line.

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