Six officers face disciplinary action in Jhamal Gonsalves moped crash
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – Six Providence police officers are facing disciplinary action or administrative charges in the October 18 moped crash that put 24-year-old Jhamal Gonsalves in a coma.
The Providence Police Department held a press conference on Friday in response to the Attorney General’s conference held on Thursday, where it was said no charges will be filed against the officer who drove the vehicle that appeared to have injured Gonsalves.
After the investigation, it was concluded that the officer’s vehicle struck a stop sign, which struck Gonsalves in the helmet.
Providence Mayor, Jorge Elorza spoke at that press conference and said while the Attorney General’s investigation was thorough, the City has conducted their own internal investigative as well.
“I understand as a father the hurt that their family is going through, watching their son and their baby in this condition,” Mayor Elorza said. “But, at the same time when it comes to our analysis we have to let the facts lead us to where they may.”
According to police, Officer Kyle Endres, the officer driving the patrol car, violated requirement of seatbelt and violated policy of driving car in a safe manner, and is facing a suspension of one day for each violation and driving safety training.
Safety Commissioner Steven Pare and Police Chief Colonel Hugh Clements addressed the charges brought to other officers involved in the incident.
Three officers are taking verbal counseling for not turning on their body cameras.
Two officers are taking verbal counseling for inappropriate interaction with witnesses
Finally, one officer is going into training for improper use of Narcan.
Chief of Providence Police, Colonel Clements said “there is not a few days that go by that a member of this department has not asked for an update on the condition of Mr. Gonsalves.”
Commissioner Pare, Colonel Clements and Mayor Elorza all say they are satisfied with the investigation. Police say the details of the investigation all boil down to one moment and the Department’s pursuit and traffic enforcement policy.
“Blocking or boxing in a safe manner that’s how we get these motor vehicles, these ATV’s,” Commissioner Pare said.
According to Commissioner Pare, ‘Blocking in’ is against pursuit policy, but Pare says this incident was not a pursuit and was traffic enforcement. To be classified as a pursuit, policy requires a speed of over 15 mph with lights and sirens activated, a call put in by the officer and a flight by the car in pursuit.
The Attorney General’s report found Officer Endres traveling at a slow speed, engaging in his brakes without lights or sirens activated.
“The way that the Police Department has been able to get so many of these bikes and ATV’s off these streets is when some of them peel off or go into side streets, you follow them so that if there is an opportunity to make a safe apprehension, then at that point you do that,” Mayor Elorza said.
That argument has met criticism from many as video shows Endres tailing behind Gonsalves as he pulls off of Elmwood Avenue onto Bissell Street, crashing into what the Attorney General’s Office believes was a stop sign.
However, Mayor Elorza says pursuit or not, it wouldn’t change the punishment because it was not a high-speed chase and happened over a seven second period of time.
“Whether or not it magically turned into a pursuit at that critical moment, that’s irrelevant for both the critical investigation and the administrative investigation.,” Mayor Elorza said.
The City says they’ve met with Police Departments and agencies from all over to try and figure out how to navigate this growing ATV problem – one that is a national problem, not just a local problem. They say there is no good solution, but they will continue to work to find one.
The family of Jhamal Gonsalves has said they are frustrated by the findings of the Attorney General’s Office and demand justice for their son. They tell ABC 6 News they are planning a protest on South Main Street on Monday. Details will be released at a later time.