Police, ACLU respond to I-95 shooting Grand Jury report - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Police, ACLU respond to I-95 shooting Grand Jury report

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By: News Staff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A grand jury has found that the officers involved in the deadly shooting on I-95 in November were justified.

Joseph Santos, 32, was shot and killed and his passenger Christine Demers injured in that shooting.

Five Providence Police officers and four State Police troopers were involved in the shooting.

Colonel Ann Assumpico of the Rhode Island State Police released a statement in response to the finding saying: “The Rhode Island State Police believes the Grand Jury made the right decision. The men and women of the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department did what they are trained to do – to protect the lives of innocent people who were in imminent danger that day.”

Providence Police Commissioner Steven Paré thanked the Providence County Grand Jury and the Department of Attorney General for their work in reviewing the case in a statement released Friday. Commissioner Paré said: "The determination that the Providence Police Officers acted lawfully and were justified in their actions brings a sense of relief to the Providence Police Department and its officers. The death of Mr. Santos and injury of Ms. Demers will forever impact the Providence Police Department. We will be reviewing our policies and procedures on police use of force and high speed pursuits in the coming weeks."

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island believes that though the shooting may have been legally justified, the incident still raises many questions and concerns. "Providence police and State troopers put the public at great risk by engaging in an unnecessarily dangerous high-speed chase, and then opening fire on a busy highway after Santos’ vehicle was largely immobilized," Brown said in a statement released by the ACLU Friday.

Brown said: "This tragic incident calls for a serious examination by these agencies of their practices and protocols. We are hopeful that they will soon apprise the public of actions they have taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

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