Despite a police civilian oversight panel’s objections, the executive director of the Providence External Review Authority (PERA) released footage of a brutal attack on a Black man by a police sergeant.
According to The Providence Journal, the head of the organization, Jose Batista, opted to share the cellphone video and bodycam recording on Thursday with the public after the footage showed Rishod Gore’s violent arrest by Sgt. Joseph Hanley on April 19.
An independent review performed by PERA detailed the harrowing chain of events from the night of the arrest. The findings determined that Hanley had used excessive force against Gore.
Three officers approached Gore in response to a domestic violence call that night. In the video, Hanley could be seen forcibly removing the 28-year-old from the passenger seat of a vehicle they approached.
Gore was thrown to the ground by officers and handcuffed while face down. During the arrest, Hanley could be seen taunting Gore as he knelt on the back of his neck.
The officers can also be heard yelling expletives at another person in the car.
“You wanna be a tough guy,” Hanley said in the footage. “You wanted this? You got it.”
“You act like an animal; I’m gonna handle it,” the officer added.
The sergeant allegedly punched and kicked Gore in the ribs and head before walking on top of his lower legs.
The other two officers on the scene did not intervene to stop Hanley nor did they report his misconduct.
Gore was later charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest but the charges were subsequently dropped.
Batista held a press conference regarding PERA’s findings on Nov. 10.
The head of PERA expressed that he wanted his organization and the police department to have a partnership concerning investigations.
“I want to be equal partners with them in the investigation,” Batista said.
“The reason why PERA exists is to provide the civilian perspective,” he said. “There’s clearly a whole separate set of rules and laws that apply to police officers. And sometimes — as is the case with any government department — the ship can float too far away from the dock.”
Batista also acknowledged that releasing the video may put his job in jeopardy, but he recognized that since the organization’s inception in 2018 little had been done to harbor transparency from the police department.
“In our review, we got a chance to see who else was present,” the director continued. “Did they follow the procedure? Why did they? Why didn’t they? All those other peripheral questions that you don’t necessarily get from the original reports.”
“It brings it back to this systemic issue,” he explained. “What are we doing to create a system that promotes more transparency, that promotes more fairness, that promotes more justice, that encourages and protects police officers who call out examples of things they don’t think [are] okay?"
Hanley has been charged with misdemeanor assault. In July, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza called for the department to fire the reportedly aggressive law enforcement agent, according to Go Local Prov.
“Our policing approach in Providence is centered first and foremost in building trust with our residents and this incident fails to represent the core values of our Police Department,” he said in a statement.
Despite being charged, Hanley has yet to be fired.