police

John Bender / RIPR

The city of Providence has suffered a trauma. That’s the view of Roger Williams University Criminal Justice Professor Sean Varano, who weighed in Monday on the fatal police shooting of a suspect on Interstate-95. 

John Bender / RIPR

Law enforcement officials are not releasing details about the man who was shot and killed by police on a stretch of I-95 Thursday morning near the Providence Place mall. A woman was also hurt during the shooting and was brought to the hospital.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A lawsuit filed by the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU charges that the Pawtucket Police Department is violating the state's open records law by choosing not to release internal affairs reports on officer-initiated complaints.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

Providence police aren’t likely to expand their role in helping federal immigration officials. This comes as Homeland Security officials seek to employ local police departments in the ramped-up deportation of undocumented immigrants.

A spate of high profile police shootings have drawn attention to the way police respond to people dealing with mental illness. 

ACLU/Human Rights Watch

African Americans in Rhode Island are disproportionately affected by drug laws, according to new report from the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit Human Rights Watch.

The numbers – culled from national 2014 law enforcement data – show black residents in Rhode Island are nearly three times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white residents.

According to ACLU of Rhode Island’s policy analyst Hillary Davis, that’s despite an overall drop in arrests for drug crimes in the state.

John Bender / RIPR

The Providence Police hope to outfit all officers on patrol with body cameras within the next several months. But a new federal grant will only cover half of the cost.

The Providence Police department has received $375,000 in matching grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. But city must come up with an equal amount of money to outfit all 250 of its patrol officers with body cameras.

In addition to the cost of the cameras, the department must also pay for digital storage of the video.

John Bender / RIPR

City officials in Providence are considering an ordinance aimed at racial profiling by the police. The measure is known as the Community Safety Act. And advocates say it’s needed to address discrimination against minorities, especially in heavily policed neighborhoods. 

John Bender / RIPR


Chuck Hinman / RIPR

Providence poet Christopher Johnson is one of 20 candidates for Poet Laureate of Rhode Island. He is also facing charges of assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after an encounter last spring with a Providence police officer. Johnson wrote about that encounter earlier this month for Motif Magazine, in an essay called Walking While Black. He spoke to Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman about his case.

Woonsocket Police Department

Woonsocket resident Dondi Willis, 47, collapsed at the Woonsocket Police Station Monday morning while awaiting transport to court. Woonsocket emergency personnel brought Willis to Landmark Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said Willis had no struggle with officers prior to his collapse.

The Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Attorney General are investigating the death. Woonsocket authorities say it is standard procedure to conduct an investigation after anyone dies in police custody.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Wednesday night State Police invited the public to tell them how to do their jobs better. More than 70 community members showed up at Roger Williams University's Providence campus to engage in that dialog. Police brutality was a top issue, but participants pointed to the bigger issue: racism.         


RIPR FILE

The team will support Providence police already stationed there. The security team began work in downtown Providence at the start of July. The transit authority has hired the Allied Barton security firm. Workers will be posted at Kennedy plaza seven days a week. They are uniformed, but unarmed.

Kennedy Plaza is one of the busiest bus hubs in the state. Recently the plaza underwent a major renovation, which opened up the space and installed security cameras.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island officials, citizens, faith groups and more have been reacting today to the violence in Dallas. 

Many Tweeted their reactions, posted on Facebook, or sent statements to our newsroom. We've collected many of them in this Storify below (scroll down).

Lawmakers are set to consider bills that would require special training for police officers in mental health and substance abuse.

Sponsors of this bill want all police officers to be certified in what's called mental health first aid. It enables them to recognize the signs of mental illness or substance abuse when responding to complaints and emergencies. And it helps first responders de-escalate a crisis.

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