PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police say it took between 30 and 40 officers to break up a large fight involving students at Kennedy Plaza on Tuesday afternoon.
Police were dispatched to the plaza around 3:30 p.m. for the report of a disturbance. Detail officers already on scene said one student had to be transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for minor injuries.
“The crowd of juveniles were extremely violent and verbally assaultive to police and anyone in the surrounding area,” according to a police incident report obtained by Target 12. “Throughout the incident, this unruly crowd were observed throwing numerous objects at police, displaying weapons, and being uncooperative with police.”
At the time of the incident, police located a kitchen knife on the ground, which was taken into evidence.
The fight spilled into several areas downtown, including on Fulton Street in front of the steps to the federal courthouse. Police made their way on foot “in a concentrated effort to safely disperse the group” to stop the fight, but say the group then changed its direction back toward the plaza.
At this point, more officers were dispatched to the area. The incident report says 20 officers formed a perimeter at the end of the plaza on Exchange and Washington Streets to monitor the crowd. Police noted there was heavy vehicle traffic in the area at this time, too.
Still, police say the group continued to run around and fight, which resulted in the arrests of two adults and eight juveniles. The incident report shows the subjects were arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, weapons other than firearms prohibited, simple assault, and assault of police officers and other officials resulting in a serious injury.
“I think what happened is unfortunate,” Providence Police Col. Oscar Perez said. “It was a certain amount of students that caused problems and the solutions are a team effort. We’ve got to sit down, think about it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Police say department-issued pepper spray was deployed during one of the arrests, “after a hostile and aggressive crowd surrounded several officers and refused to comply with police commands to stop fighting and enter their assigned buses.”
The report notes that police contacted RIPTA staff, who were trying to get the kids on their assigned buses home, in addition to facilitating more buses to clear out the plaza.
On Monday police said they responded to a “similar disturbance,” to Tuesday’s. In that instance, an officer was injured trying to disperse the crowd.
A police incident report obtained by Target 12 shows one or more juveniles were transported to the Youth Services Bureau to be charged in connection to Monday’s disturbance.
Mayor Brett Smiley told Target 12 his administration has been in touch with RIPTA and RIDE since Tuesday, and has asked the Providence Public School District to have administrators in Kennedy Plaza “to ensure safer student commutes.”
Perez confirmed no disturbances were reported at Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday.