Providence, RI — On Sunday evening, owners of ATVs and dirt bikes gathered together in Providence, Rhode Island and began riding through the city streets. During this make-shift parade a police officer was seen appearing to chase one of the riders — despite policy forbidding such chases — before ramming the man, sending him flying through the air. That 24-year-old man is now in critical condition.
Providence police say they are now investigating the officer-involved incident. According to Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements officers were in the area after responding to multiple calls about the 200-300 ATVs riding through the area. The vehicle the man was driving was not an ATV and appeared to be a scooter.
Although Providence Police were seen following the ATVs and the man on the scooter, the Providence Police Department has certain no-chase policies due to public safety liabilities, and police say stopping the bikers is often an issue, according to WPRI. The video below appears to show the reason for such a no-chase policy.
We have no idea what led up to the instance or why the police officer was pursuing the man on the scooter. However, we do know what happened after the brief pursuit began.
As the video shows, the officer in the SUV appears to be driving after the man on the scooter before they both make a right turn. The camera briefly pans away before turning back to the scooter and we see the man flying several feet before crashing into the pavement.
When the officers are seen responding to the crash, the man is unconscious and in need of live-saving help. Instead of help, however, police appeared more concerned with obstructing the crash scene by moving the man’s scooter off to the side. Several officers are then seen callously walking by the unconscious man as others tell bystanders and witnesses to get back.
The man’s name or whether he’d been accused of any crimes were not available as of the publishing of this article. In response to the incident, the Rhode Island chapter of Black Lives Matter issued a statement.
“Police officer(s) from Providence Police Department intentionally and deliberately runs down and crashes a young African-American man on a scooter with their police truck in an apparent criminal excessive use of force and assault with a deadly weapon (police vehicle) knocking him unconscious and leading to his hospitalization at Rhode Island Hospital where he is currently being treated for life threatening injuries,” BLM RI wrote in an Instagram post.
Mayor Jorge Elorza was reportedly on the scene of the crash and also issued a statement.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it and figure out exactly what happened,” Elorza said.
Later in the night, his office released a statement:
We had a terrible incident in our city tonight that left a young man severely injured— we hope he will make a full recovery. Our police are actively reviewing all video evidence, talking to witnesses, and recreating the scene. We will be doing a full investigation and will continue to communicate as the investigation unfolds.
In response to the crash, the police chief used that moment to talk about the danger of ATVs essentially blaming the man on the scooter for his own injuries.
“This is the danger we exactly spoke about,” Clements said. “These are illegal to operate on the street. They’re dangerous.”
However, we do not know that the man’s scooter was illegal as police have yet to release any information.
In Rhode Island, a law is in place that allows police to seize ATVs deemed “illegal” and destroy them.
According to WPRI, earlier this month, Providence police made a public display of destroying ATVs and dirt bikes they’ve confiscated as part of their crackdown on illegal street vehicles over the last three years.
“They’re illegal for a reason. They’re dangerous on the city streets. Look, they shouldn’t be operated on the roadways,” Clements said.
— Andy (@_Jettfly) October 19, 2020