Asst. News Editor
On Monday, The City of Providence released body cam videos of the moped crash on October 18 that left Jhamal Gonsalves, 24, in the hospital in critical condition. Body camera footage of the accident released on October 26, shows the officers at the scene dragging Gonsalves by his limp right arm, questioning if he was on drugs, then wrongfully administering him Narcan. Footage additionally shows a group of officers not wearing masks trying to remove Gonsalves’s helmet until they realize he might have a serious head injury. As Gonsalves continues to fight for his life, Rhode Islanders have broken out in protests and peaceful rides to show their support for Gonsalves and his family.
Friends of Gonsalves believe this was a race motivated attack, stating that Endres, the police officer responsible for striking Jhamal, knew his demographic and purposely hit and injured him. Many additionally believe this situation would have turned out differently if it were a white person riding the ATV.
At a press conference last Thursday The Gonsalves family expressed appreciation for the outpour of growing support for Jhamal. The Gonsalves family’s attorney Jude Kerrison, assured the public that Jhamal’s family did not support the riots in Providence. Kerrison insisted, “They don’t condone the violence and destruction. If you do not see a family member at any of these demonstrations, then it is not endorsed by the family.”
Friends, family and activists throughout the state are demanding police accountability and transparency. Kerrison claimed that the body-cam footage only increased the family’s concerns about Jhamal’s treatment following the accident. Jhamal’s father, Mark Gonsalves, said, “ “I work with people in the community with mental illness and addiction and to see an officer pull out Narcan which he’s prepared with, and then saying he doesn’t know how to use it – I was a little disappointed with some of the professionalism, some of the empathy involved.” The officer who was driving the vehicle involved with the accident, Kyle Endres, has been placed on administrative desk duty while the city continues to investigate.
Jhamal’s boss from a shipyard in Newport says the accident was extremely preventable, and that many are shaken up by this travesty. A Go-Fund-Me has been created to raise money for Gonsalves, which has accumulated over $50,000 in the last week.