PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Several members of the Providence Police Department are being disciplined for their actions surrounding an officer-involved moped crash last year that left 24-year-old Jhamal Gonsalves in a coma.
Providence Police Commissioner Steven Paré made the announcement Friday, one day after Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha revealed that criminal charges will not be filed against Officer Kyle Endres in the Oct. 18 crash on Elmwood Avenue.
According to Neronha, the months-long investigation determined the actions of Officer Endres, who was driving the cruiser involved in the crash, did not meet the criminal standard of “recklessness.”
On Friday, Paré announced Endres will be suspended for one day for driving without a seat belt and a second day not driving in a safe manner. He has accepted his sanctions, Paré added, and will also be retrained in emergency vehicle operations.
Under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, two days is the maximum police can suspend an officer without pay.
Three other officers failed to turn on their body cameras, according to Paré, and all three have received a first-time verbal warning.
Paré also said the officer who administered Narcan will be retrained on its use, while two other officers will receive future discipline for their conduct with witnesses on the street. He said that part of the review is not yet complete.
The AG’s office and Providence police say they are looking closely at the moment Endres called over the radio to “box him in,” which is a practice that goes against the Providence Pursuit Police.
According to Paré, this incident did not meet the technical definition of a pursuit and did not result in Gonsalves being boxed in.
When it comes to the crash itself, Neronha on Thursday displayed evidence which he said shows Endres didn’t collide with Gonsalves’ moped, but rather a stop sign that came down on Gonsalves’ head. He was wearing a helmet but suffered a severe head injury.
Neronha hinted that negligence may have played a role in the the crash, which could be the subject of a civil lawsuit.
Gonsalves’ family and their attorney later announced they plan to file a suit next week seeking monetary damages.
Paré said they examined the video showing Endres pulling on Gonsalves’ arm very closely and talked to medical experts about the situation. He explained that Endres was trying to pull Gonsalves out from under the moped since it was still running but stopped when other officers said he was injured. He never thought there was malicious intent in the situation, according to Paré.
Gonsalves is currently at a rehabilitation facility in New Jersey where they’re working to wake him up from his coma. His family expressed disappointment with the results of the investigation, saying they believe the officers were at fault in the crash.
“This is all on the negligence of these officers,” Jhamal’s father, Mark Gonsalves, said. “The care falls on the negligence of the city and state because they put these officers … they gave them their jobs.”