The Executive Director of the Providence External Review Authority is facing backlash after releasing video of an incident between Providence Police and a civilian back in April.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Executive Director of the Providence External Review Authority, Jose Batista, is facing backlash after releasing video of an incident between Providence Police and a civilian back in April.
Batista says he first viewed this video back in May and has been trying to work with the police and the PERA board to release it to the public for full transparency, but that he was met with roadblocks and decided to go ahead on his own.
The video is footage of the arrest and alleged assault by Sgt. Joseph Hanley of Rishod Gore, who was arrested for disorderly conduct, but those charges were later dropped.
The alleged assault became public in May when Providence Police said Sgt. Hanley was charged with assault for punching a handcuffed man.
“When I see this video at the end of May, I immediately feel very concerned because there’s a lot more in the video than is being told to the public,” said Batista.
The ‘more’ Batista is referring to, is Gore being dragged out of a car, kicked, and then Sgt. Hanley putting his knee on the neck and back of gore.
“All I’m saying is look, there’s some questions here. And rather than end the conversation and close the book, I think that need to open this conversation,” said Batista.
These facts of the case came out in a report published by the PERA board this summer. But Batista says the public deserved to see the actual video, and was met with push-back by the police, and his own board who voted not to release it.
“Now after six months I can say I tried everything and the wall is still up and the door is closed in my face,” said Batista.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare called Batista’s actions disappointing.
The Providence Fraternal Order of Police called for Batista to be removed from his role on the board, claiming this could taint the legal process for the officer, as well as the victim.
Batista says losing his position was a risk he was willing to take to try and make a permanent change in policing.
“This is ultimately, not my, but our collective police department,” said Batista. “Just like it’s our city. And if there’s something really egregious happening, like I think is happening in this video, then it’s up to us as the public to make sure that the department is held accountable, and that we take the steps necessary to make sure something like this never happens again.”
ABC 6 also reached out to the chairman of the PERA board for comment but did not hear back.
We’re told the PERA board has called an emergency meeting following the release of the video. A city council spokesperson said it will likely be sometime next week.