Providence police defend their use of deadly force

By: Chloe Leshner


PROVIDENCE (WLNE) — Providence police are saying they’re justified in using deadly force, saying their officers did what they’re trained to do.This now brings into question what policies are in place and exactly when deadly force can be used.

Providence Police believe they followed the department’s policy on use of force and say if they didn’t eliminate the threat, the situation could be much worse.

After Thursday’s deadly shooting on 95, Providence Police are referencing their policy on use of force to justify the actions of the 5 Providence Police officers on scene.

"We believe the footage shows the acts of the officers as doing exactly what we would want them to do in stopping an imminent and significant threat at that moment," says Colonel Hugh Clements.

The policy is detailed but overall, officers are authorized to use lethal force to protect themselves, another officer or the public when they believe an imminent threat exists.

"There’s not a police officer that I’ve met that wants to take their gun out but we revert back to our training and that’s what we see here," says Commissioner Steven Pare.

Specifically, the policy says officers should not shoot at a moving vehicle unless it’s absolutely necessary to stop a threat. Commissioner Pare says officers made every attempt to stop the vehicle first.

In all cases, the use of lethal force must not create a greater threat to the public, something called into question when officers began firing their weapons with bystanders all around.

"I can guarantee every police officer knew that there was that risk but the over arching decision was the imminent threat for serious bodily injury or death," says Pare.

Rhode Island State Police were also involved in the shooting but they did not participate in today’s press conference and did not respond to ABC 6’s request for their policy on deadly force. The Attorney General’s office is investigating and will present their findings to a grand jury.

(C) WLNE/ABC 6 2017