Officials identify man who died in Providence Police custody

By: Melissa Randall
mrandall@abc6.com 
@MRandallABC6

Authorities have identified the man who died while in Providence Police custody as Richard Cosentino, 63. Cosentino, a resident at Carroll Tower on Smith St., died early Sunday morning shortly after he was freed from an elevator by first responders. 

“I just can’t. I can’t believe it,” said Cyndi Pettaway, a friend of Cosentino. 

Police and fire were called to the apartment building around 4 am for a man trapped in an elevator. The door was opened and inside they found Cosentino. Major Thomas Verdi says the man was combative. 

“When they opened the elevator he’s there, highly intoxicated, and refused to comply with police or fire. Police had to eventually physically place him into handcuffs,” said Major Verdi. 

Cosentino was led outside, and placed into the back of a police vehicle. A short time later, police say he went silent.

“It appears he went into full cardiac arrest. Providence Fire began treating him on the scene,” said Major Verdi. 

Cosentino was pronounced dead at Rhode Island Hospital. Providence police’s internal affairs department is now conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office and the State Police are assisting in the investigation. 

Meanwhile, Cosentino’s friends at the housing complex are trying to come to grips with the loss.

“A nice guy. He didn’t bother nobody. He’d sit out and talk to himself sometimes and you know… I’m shocked. Just shocked,” said Pettaway.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine cause of death.

© WLNE-TV 2015