« State seeks proposals for off-shore wind farm |
| Carcieri going on CNN tonight to talk about immigration »
April 3, 2008
Justice notes past civil rights abuses by Providence police
Journal photo / Andrew Dickerman
Police Chief Dean Esserman and Mayor David N. Cicilline discuss results of the Justice Department investigation into allegations of excessive force and discriminatory practices in the police department.
PROVIDENCE -- Mayor David N. Cicilline and Police Chief Dean Esserman announced today the conclusion of the Department of Justice’s review of the city police’s observances of citizens’ civil rights, especially the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
The Justice Department's involvement began in 2000 as preliminary review and a criminal investigation into the fatal shooting of police Sgt. Cornel Young Jr. by two fellow officers while he was off duty. In 2002 it morphed into a formal inquiry and consultation.
No criminal wrongdoing found in connection with Young's death.
But Esserman acknowledged that the Justice Department did find abuses in the police department, primarily during the administration of former Police chief Urbano Prigano Jr.
Two major areas where the Department of Justice said there had been abuses were instances of excessive force involving the public, and instances of poor handling of civilian complaints against members of the department.
During the years-long process, the police department adopted some reforms, all under the watchful eye recommendation of the Department of Justice, including:
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
-Implementing the use what they call “less-lethal weapons” such as a bean bag launcher and TASERS.
-Adopting a policy of much closer scrutiny of any use of force that goes beyond effortlessly handcuffing a suspect said in a statement
The Police Department has gone “a radical transportation in its practices," Rhode Island Urban League President Dennis Langley said after the meeting. “Your uniform is no longer tainted."
A Providence Police Department news release today said the Justice Department found the police department "has made significant improvements" under Esserman's leadership.
Cicilline, in the same news release, stated: "This is a police department that used to exist under a cloud of corruption, low morale and was at war with the community" but "the Justice Department's findings validate the hard work of the men and women of the police department to transform this agency into a national model in law enforcement."
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 3:49 PM | Permalink
Ernie | April 3, 2008 3:48 PM link
Mike | April 3, 2008 5:14 PM link
Puck | April 3, 2008 8:23 PM link
R.R.H | April 4, 2008 8:57 AM link
Post a comment
Please be civil. Vicious comments, personal attacks and profanity won't be published. Name and email are required; email address will not publish.