Providence police officer charged with assaulting man in handcuffs


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A 17-year veteran of the Providence Police Department appeared in court Tuesday on an assault charge connected to an incident last month.

Police allege Sgt. Joseph Hanley hit a man several times after the man was placed in handcuffs. He’s been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

According to police, officers were dispatched to Knight Street just before 6 p.m. on April 19 for a report of a domestic dispute. When they attempted to arrest the suspect, Markese Davis, he resisted and people nearby attempted to verbally interfere, police said.

Davis, 28, of Woonsocket, was eventually taken into custody and charged with domestic disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, and resisting arrest.

Police said the officers then removed a 28-year-old East Providence man from a vehicle parked on Tell Street and placed him under arrest. It was then that Hanley allegedly struck the man.

Police officials and the R.I. Attorney General’s Office reviewed the circumstances of the arrest and Hanley’s actions and determined Hanley should be charged with simple assault.

He was arraigned Tuesday and released. Police said he’s due to return to court at a later date.

Hanley was the second local police officer charged with simple assault in as many days. Cranston Police Officer Andrew Leonard was arrested Monday in connection with a “use of force incident” that occurred within the department, officials said.

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