Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Asst. News Editor
PROVIDENCE, R.I., -- On Sunday, October 18, Jhamal Gonsalves was struck by a Providence Police cruiser. Gonsalves, 24, was riding around his neighborhood on an ATV, as he and his friends often did. They were riding the streets of Providence until an officer tried to remove him from the road.
A video showing the entire accident shows Gonsalves get struck by the cruiser, projecting his motionless body to the pavement. Immediately following the accident, the video shows an officer dragging Gonsalves by his right arm across the sidewalk. Bystanders claimed that they could hear the impact of his body and the cruiser, which is a sound they will never forget.
Gonsalves is currently suffering from swelling and bleeding to the brain, and is now in a coma at Rhode Island Hospital. The driver of the vehicle, Kyle Endres, was placed on administrative desk duty for the duration of his investigation. After having served six years in the force, people around the nation are demanding that justice is served. As stated by Bernard Tribble, Gonsalves’ stepfather, “We want the officer held accountable, he hit a 24-year-old on a scooter. That is excessive force.” Tribble and activists throughout the country have asserted that this is a clear example of police brutality.
Providence Police and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office have stated that a thorough investigation of the incident is underway yet police claim it is still “unclear” whether Endres actually struck Gonsalves. Two additional videos of the crash were released on Wednesday although views were slightly obscured in both videos and did not show the exact moment of the incident.
Those who know Jhamal Gonsalves say he is a young and fun-loving man who holds a passion for motorbike and ATV riding. He is described by family and friends as being “the most passionate and skilled rider they have ever met.” Having received his first bike at the age of six, Gonsalves is nearly a pro at street riding.” Gonsalves was not committing a crime when riding his moped through the city on the night of the crime and has no prior criminal record.
Since the incident, Rhode Islanders have expressed support for Jhamal. On Wednesday protests emerged throughout the state. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to support Gonsalves as protests occurred in the same spot as the accident. Windshields and windows of police cars were shattered, smoke bombs were thrown, and seven protesters were arrested in the process.
On Wednesday, Mayor Jorge Elorza urged Rhode Islanders to reserve judgment. Elorza stated, “Let’s focus on a thorough, complete, transparent investigation. That’s what we’re absolutely committed to. We’re going to allow the facts to lead us wherever they may.”