Black Lives Matter and RI State Police working together for peaceful change

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — No arrests or injuries were reported after Wednesday night’s protest in downtown Providence, which blocked traffic to an on-ramp of I-95.

Now Rhode Island State Police and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island say they’re both ready for more peaceful demonstrations. 

“No one got arrested, no one got killed, it was a good night,” said Mark Fisher, one of the heads of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island.

The two sides have been working together throughout the summer to establish a community outreach program between police and minority communities.

Black Lives Matter have been alerting State Police about their scheduled demonstrations, promising to keep the peace.

In return, State Police have been trying to establish programs, like a civilian oversight board, to review the department’s actions and bring awareness to issues like abuse of power and systemic racism. 

“We have to make sure that police are held accountable,” said Fisher. “We are not interested in destroying our own city. We’re not interested in rioting or looting. That has the adverse effect.”

State Police tell ABC6 they appreciate the communication and transparency from Black Lives Matter. 

“We want to protect not only the motivating public, but also the protesters as well as our law enforcement personnel,” said Major Chris Dicomitis, the superintendent of Rhode Island State Police. 

“We appreciate the communication amongst all individuals, especially the folks at Black Lives Matter like Mr. Gary Dantzler and Mr. Mark Fisher,” said Dicomitis.

Despite their good relationship, Fisher says he’s all in favor of defunding the police.

However, he explained, he does not want police abolished.

“When I say defund the police, what I mean is fund community projects,” Fisher told ABC6. “We want initiatives that stop the [policies] that allowed police and society to criminalize people of color.”

“Whether its substance abuse, homelessness, mental health — when we address these issues and deal with them properly, we don’t have to worry about them becoming a problem and perpetuating into criminality, which has become the standard,” Fisher explained. “People with mental health and substance abuse issues get thrown in prison.”

State Police say they look forward to continuing their work with Black Lives Matter and coming to a solution that benefits all Rhode Islanders.

Black Lives Matter Rhode Island has another peaceful protest scheduled for Saturday in Barrington. 

(c) WLNE-TV // ABC6  2020

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island