Providence police release bodycam footage of incident involving alleged ‘excessive force’
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Providence Police Department released body camera footage from an arrest that was alleged by the Rhode Island ACLU and BLM Rhode Island PAC to include officers using “excessive force.”
The arrest involved multiple Providence police officers and Tadj Eddington, a man who was suffering a “medical episode” at the time of his arrest, according to the Rhode Island ACLU.
The footage was released after the ACLU and the BLM RI PAC called for its release in a statement, which Eddington supported.
The footage obtained by ABC 6 News details the moments after the accident where officers attempt to remove Eddington from his sedan.
Video continues showing officers removing Eddington, who appeared disoriented, and trying to get him to stand up.
An officer can be seen speaking to another man involved in the accident, who’s car was also hit when Eddington crashed. The man told police Eddington suffered a seizure and crashed.
Video further details Eddington leaning away from police officers which is when he screaming for help. Officers took him to the ground shortly after. While on the ground, Eddington can be heard yelling “I cant breathe.”
After authorities placed Eddington in a cruiser, he is taken to an area hospital for treatment. Eddington can be heard screaming for help and saying he can’t breathe while cuffed in the back seat of the cruiser.
When at the hospital, the bodycam video shows Eddington fall from the police cruiser and hit the pavement head-first.
While in the hospital, police can be heard asking Eddington if he remembers being in an accident, to which he responds, seeming concerned, that he did not.
In response to the release of the footage, Mayor Brett Smiley and Chief Col. Oscar Perez released the following statement:
“Providence Police responded to an incident on August 18, 2023 where Tahj Eddington was found in his car and just recently crashed into a building. Providence Police attempted to move Eddington to the police car, seeing he was unstable and in need of medical attention. At that point Eddington pulled away and struggled with police officers who were attempting to render assistance. At some point during the struggle Eddington attempted to strike an officer and the decision was made to place him into custody. Shortly after being arrested, Eddington was transported to the hospital for further evaluation where he suffered additional self-inflicted injuries.”
“BLM RI PAC and the ACLU of RI have today formally requested the release of body camera footage from the Providence Police Department related to an incident of alleged excessive use of force against a black man, Tadj Eddington, experiencing a medical episode on the night of August 18th,” BLM RI PAC said in its statement issued on Thursday.
Providence police said the incident has gone through the proper review process, including by the Office of Professional Responsibility, which found the appropriate use of force protocols were followed.
One of the officers involved is being disciplined for excessive profanity, officials said.
BLM RI PAC said they would release a statement regarding the incident after they’ve reviewed the footage.
ABC 6 has reached out to the Rhode Island ACLU for comment and are waiting to hear back.