PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – The “STEP UP” Coalition interrupted a meeting on crime in the East Side last night trying to get the attention of Mayor Jorge Elorza.
Members of the group said they have tried to schedule time with the mayor for eleven months, but his office would not set a meeting.
“The forum was about crime. We have been trying to be patient with him. That’s something else too that people don’t recognize. We have been trying to meet with him for eleven months,” said Vanessa Flores Maldonado of the STEP UP Coalition
STEP UP says they have a city ordinance they want put into place called the Providence Community Safety Act.
The bill would enforce more anti-racial profiling policies for police.
Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare said some of the language in the city ordinance has been passed at the state level, and that the parts that haven’t are unconstitutional.
“They want to discipline police officers.” said Pare.”This is an issue that is not going to be solved in just Providence. It’s a national issue, but Rhode Island is the first state in the country to pass a law like the one we just saw passed and they’re frustrated because they want it to go more.”
Pare said he worked on a state bill called the Comprehensive Community Police Relationship Act which forces police officers to collect date and stops them from asking juveniles to consent to a search.
“Programs like these, yes okay maybe they’re nice but in the end, they’re not addressing the real issue. And the real issue here is that we are discriminated by our skin color. We are discriminated by where we live and these are problems that need to be solved immediately,” Vanessa Flores Maldonado of the STEP UP Coalition said.
Mayor Jorge Elorza refused to issue a statement.