Closing statements read; 1 week until verdict is given in assault case against PVD Police officer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)-Closing arguments were read on Friday in the criminal case against Sgt. Joseph Hanley, the Providence Police Sergeant accused of assaulting Rishod Gore during an arrest in April 2020.

Hanley is accused of kicking Gore while handcuffed, kneeling on his neck, and stepping on his calves, while Gore was handcuffed during an arrest in a Federal Hill neighborhood last April.

Prior to Friday’s court session, Judge Brian Goldman told both the prosecution and the defense they would have 45 minutes to present their final cases in an effort to move the contentious trial along.

Sgt. Hanley’s defense lawyer, Michael Colucci, presented closing arguments first. Colucci highlighted Hanley’s past 17 years as a police officer, in which no complaints were filed against him for excessive use of force.

“I agree with McCabe on this, there is a lot riding on this case,” Colucci said to Judge Goldman, in agreement with the state’s lead prosecutor.

Colucci then revisiting the question if Gore’s 22 prior arrests contributed to a negative bias towards police officers, therefore tainting his testimony.

“Maybe it’s the political climate this past year,” Colucci says to the Judge, further saying that “Second guessing has become a norm in this case.”

Another highly discussed topic from the defense team; the limitations a video has- such as shadows and skewed angles.

Further, Colucci argues while it’s easy now to rewind, re-watch and critique a video now; Officer Hanley did not have that ability to do that and only had seconds to make a decision that night in April.

Colucci argues to the Judge, “You have to put yourself in the shoes of the officer at the time, not in the peacefulness of this court room,” arguing all actions Hanley took that night were necessary.

Next up, the prosecution’s turn to issue closing arguments.

Special Assistant Attorney General Michael McCabe beginning his closing arguments by objecting to Colucci’s statements made moments ago.

McCabe adding Colucci mischaracterized Gore’s testimony by suggesting he has a bias against police.

The majority of the prosecution’s closing statements referred to the state’s final witness called to the stand on Thursday, Colonel Daniel Barzykowski former Central Falls Chief of Police, as an expert in use of force.

McCabe saying Barzykowski, in a way, has more credibility as a witness as he agreed with Hanley on numerous points- but just ultimately disagreed on the interactions after Gore was handcuffed.

On Thursday, Barzykowski said repeatedly he found Hanley’s use of force on Gore to be “extremely concerning,” further saying, “I have a severe problem with that,” when re-watching body camera footage.

McCabe addressing what he says were inconsistencies between Hanley’s testimony during direct and cross examination while providing an explanation of how he struck Gore with his hand.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, the testimony, the video, therefore am asking you to find the defendant Sgt. Joseph Hanley guilty beyond reasonable doubt on simple assault and or battery,” McCabe ends his argument to Judge Goldman.

Judge Brian Goldman will issue his final verdict on Thursday at 2 p.m.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2021

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island