On Mon., Oct. 26, videos surfaced of a Providence police cruiser striking twenty-four-year-old Jhamal Gonsalves. After the accident, Gonsalves was taken to Rhode Island hospital, where he was in critical condition and in a coma.
Gonsalves was riding a moped while being chased by the Providence police. The police had been trying to disband a group of bikers riding around Providence, which was the driving force of the chase, and it was uncovered that his moped was not registered.
The officer at the center of this case was Hugh Clements, who claims he did not hit Gonsalves. Despite his claim, the majority not only believe that Clements did hit Jhamal, but that it was racially charged. The only evidence is video footage which did not show if Gonsalves was actually hit.
This occurrence has led to a local outcry on Gonsalves’ behalf. On Oct. 24, citizens staged the “Ride out for Jhamal” where mopeds and cars can be seen driving around in his honor peacefully, and was described on Newport Buzz: “Motorcycles, scooters, and cars welcome. Event organizers stress that this is not a protest or a rally, rather it’s a rideout.”
Before the peaceful rideout however, sixty protestors in Providence were met with officers in riot gear. The protest continued, with both protesters’ and police compliance. Gonsalves later passed away from his injuries.