PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — After Providence police released more than eight hours of body camera video that shows officers punching and spitting at teenage suspects, a city business shared surveillance footage which shows a new angle of the tense ordeal.
The 41 videos released Wednesday show the July 8 arrest of two teenagers who allegedly led police on a chase after pointing what turned out to be BB gun rifles at innocent bystanders and an officer.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said the use of force demonstrated by Officers Domingo Diaz and Mitchel Voyer was “appalling” and led to a criminal investigation.
On Thursday, a head staff member at Narragansett Creamery provided 12 News with video footage from that night, before the hours-long pursuit began.
The video shows three employees standing outside and quickly scattering after a car pulls up. The driver can be seen exiting the vehicle and trying to fire at people.
As one employee tries to run away, more people exit the car and start chasing them. A Narragansett Creamery employee told 12 News that one of their staff members was hit and injured during the incident and had to go to the hospital.
Prior to the official release of the police footage, Attorney General Peter Neronha said while body camera video can be powerful and revealing in general, it may not tell the entire story.
“They’ll tell you a part of the story, but they don’t tell you what’s going on where the cameras aren’t focused,” Neronha said. “The cameras may be too close, you know, it may not be close enough.”
In a statement Wednesday, Neronha said the body camera video being released means the investigation into the incident is “substantially complete,” meaning witnesses and investigators involved have all been interviewed.
However, the investigation is ongoing, according to Neronha’s office.
12 News law enforcement analyst Steven O’Donnell also shed light on the body camera video, calling some of the footage “disturbing” to watch.
“Any time you see video with use of force, it never looks good,” O’Donnell said.
With that in mind, O’Donnell said when police were involved in the hours-long chase through the city, he believes officers didn’t call it off because they were unsure if the guns being pointed were real or not.
“So, in good faith by the police, they believe they’re chasing someone who just shot at people and who just terrorized people,” O’Donnell said.
“It’s as high as the heightened alert. If it’s a 1 to 10, it’s at a 10,” he added.
According to O’Donnell, when a police chase ends, a foot pursuit and some use of force typically follows.
“That’s where, I guess the rubber meets the road, where the police have to make a decision how much force they use,” he explained.
At one point, the video shows one of the teenagers with his head and hands held back by an officer while he receives several blows to the face from another. After one of the suspects is picked up off of the ground and put into a sitting position, an officer walks up and spits in his direction.
O’Donnell said while it’s normal for police to have some sort of emotional reaction in these situations, officers are trained and expected not to react in some of the ways displayed in the video.
“Once the person’s in cuffs, they’re not supposed to do anything further than that,” he said.
No charges have been filed against the police officers.
The teenagers have all been charged with criminal offenses, but their names and exact charges have not been released because they are underage.