Caught on camera: Providence police arrest under investigation after officers slam suspect’s head to ground

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The arrest of 21-year Armando Rivas is under investigation by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office following an altercation with police on July 3.

According to police, the officers involved were Cpt. Stephen Gencerella and Lt. Matthew Jennettte.

In a video obtained by ABC 6 News, both officers were seen in the process of towing Rivas’ car the night of the Fourth of July fireworks at India Point Park.

When Rivas noticed what was happening, a police report said he yelled racial profanities at both officers then tried to get in his car. He then tried to break free.

According to that report, Rivas began to “flail, kick, and punch at both officers.” Police then took Rivas to the ground, and Gencerella grabbed the back of Rivas’ head and forced it to the pavement to stabilize him to make the arrest.

Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC executive director, Harrison Tuttle, told ABC 6 that after seeing police use their knee and force the 22-year-old’s head to the ground, both officers should be placed on leave.“I’m not a police expert on police protocol, and I assume that’s not one of them and I would like to see an investigation to explore the fact that something like that is not OK,” Tuttle said.

Police said Gencerella was put on injury on duty leave, but did not immediately release details on what those injuries were.

Rivas is currently facing several charges, including resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault.

ABC 6 shared the video with Todd McGhee, a former Massachusetts State Police Trooper for more than 20 years. He is also a specialist in law enforcement defense tactics.

When asked him if he believes excessive force was used, he said, “I don’t see excessive force.”

“The knee utilized by the officer in the shoulder was removed, so all of those things were standard. The only thing I would call in question is the hair grabbed where it is perceived that his face was pushed into the ground,” McGhee added.

Rivas has plead no contest to assaulting those officers.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island