Local News, National, News, Providence, Top Video

Protesters urge federal government not to allow drilling off Rhode Island’s coast

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PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) – Demonstrators supportive of the environment and clean waters swarmed a meeting of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Wednesday, asking the federal employees there not to allow companies to drill for oil and gas off of Rhode Island’s coastline.

The BOEM was in Providence to take public comment on a proposal by President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to open up 90% of offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. The drilling was banned in most of the nation’s waters under the Obama administration.

“Not on our watch,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a news conference before the meeting. “We’re going to stand up and make sure it doesn’t happen.”

“Opening up nearly all U.S. coasts to offshore drilling is an enormous leap back to the time when our energy policies turned a blind eye to pollution,” said Rep. Lauren Carson, a Democrat who represents Newport.

Protesters chanting “no drill, no spill” marched from the State House to the Marriott hotel, where the BOEM meeting was happening Wednesday afternoon. Demonstrators said they were concerned about oil rigs polluting Rhode Island waters, disrupting the fishing industry and possibly causing an oil spill.

“It’s a scary thought,” said Joel Gates of Glocester, a member of Save the Bay. “Hopefully it won’t happen, but we have to make sure our voices are heard.”

Bill Brown, chief environmental officer for BOEM, said the public comments taken from all the states would be part of a report and analysis conducted by BOEM for the Interior Department.

Brown said it was possible BOEM would recommend not to allow drilling in the waters off certain states, including Rhode Island.

“We’re here to listen, gather environmental information, do an analysis and environmental impact statement,” Brown said. “And for the purpose of really seeing whether some areas should be excluded from development.”

Brown said there is a lot of enthusiasm for offshore drilling in Alaska and Gulf Coast states, and more opposition in Atlantic states.

The draft proposal by the Interior Department is broad, including more than 90% of the country’s Outer Continental Shelf available to lease to oil and gas companies. But Brown said the final proposal could be more limited.

It’s unclear if there is interest from oil companies in drilling off Rhode Island, or if oil is even available there. Brown said no one has examined in decades whether there is oil off the New England coast.

Republican candidate for governor Patricia Morgan said she would not support offshore drilling in Rhode Island, but added that she thought it was unlikely that oil rigs would come to the Ocean State.

“I wouldn’t be in favor of it,” Morgan said. “We have to protect our fishing industry.”

Joe Trillo, the Republican-turned-independent candidate for governor who was President Trump’s honorary campaign chairperson for Rhode Island, also said he would not want to see drilling off Rhode Island’s shores.

Republican candidate Allan Fung’s campaign manager said Fung was not commenting on the proposed offshore drilling.

GOP candidate Giovanni Feroce was the most open to the proposal, saying he didn’t think Rhode Island should be against offshore drilling.

”In Rhode Island we should concentrate on supporting the industry by having companies here manufacture equipment, train workers and provide vessels carrying supplies to the operations,” Feroce said.

Local News, News, Politics, Providence, Top Video

Mattiello co-sponsors ‘red flag’ gun bill; Raimondo to sign executive order

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) —  A bill to take firearms away from people deemed at risk for violence has the support of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, a Democrat who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in 2016.

The bill was introduced Friday by Rep. Dennis Canario and co-sponsored by other representatives, including Mattiello. Gov. Gina Raimondo also announced Friday she would sign an executive order on Monday to institute the so-called “red flag” policy on a temporary basis while lawmakers debate the policy in the General Assembly.

“The tragedy in Parkland has renewed the urgency once again for states to take action to prevent gun violence,” Raimondo said in a statement. “On Monday I will sign an Executive Order establishing a statewide red flag policy that will take effect immediately, but we still need to pass legislation so these protections are in place permanently.”

The bill was recommended by the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, whose executive director said police are often told about a person’s concerning behavior, but can’t do anything until a crime is actually committed.

Mattiello said in an interview Friday he believes the legislation could have prevented the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week.

“I believe that the Second Amendment’s an important constitutional right,” Mattiello said. “However, kids are being shot in schools. So that gives you pause, and makes you think about it and you have to try and find the most effective ways of dealing with it.”

“It easily could have helped avert that tragedy,” Mattiello added.

The bill would create an “extreme risk protective order,” which a court could impose on a person who “is an imminent danger to cause personal injury to self or others by having access to a firearm.”

A family member, household member, police or the attorney general’s office would be able to petition the Superior Court for the extreme risk protective order. A hearing would be held on the matter within 21 days, but a temporary order could be put in place while awaiting the hearing.

If a judge certifies the order, the person would need to surrender his or her guns for a year. The court could extend the order after that, and the person would have a chance every year to petition to get his or her firearms back.

“I think it would be a real, practical way to protect our children,” Mattiello said.

People convicted of certain crimes are banned by federal law from possessing firearms, but police have lamented their inability to remove guns from a person who exhibits red flags but has not yet committed a crime.

“What we see as a challenge is when we receive this information – very concerning information – there is really no tool in place for us to prevent those individuals from possessing a firearm or going out and obtaining a firearm,” Jamestown Police Chief Edward Mello told Eyewitness News on Thursday.

“This legislation is a way to stop tragedies before they happen,” said Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, who plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate on Tuesday. “Of course someone who has guns and is making serious threats to harm people with them should not be armed.”

Prior to the Florida shooting, the National Rifle Association had opposed red flag legislation proposed in other states. The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rhode Island’s red flag proposal.

The NRA has donated $3,675 to Mattiello’s campaigns since 2006, endorsed his most recent re-election campaign and rated his stance on gun rights an A+. Asked if he was fine with potentially losing NRA support, Mattiello said he was more concerned about the public.

Frank Saccoccio from the Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition said he thinks the idea for the red flag bill is a good one, but he would need to read through the specific language before taking a position.

Steven Brown, the executive director of the ACLU, said the Rhode Island chapter would be reviewing the legislation next week to determine if there are any civil rights issues.

Crime, Local News, News, Providence, West Bay

Man says RI attorney used him as ‘scapegoat’ for check-cashing scheme

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Marcus Crook says he was surprised when he was picked up by police at his job in Connecticut back in December, and sent to Rhode Island to face charges in an alleged check-cashing scheme from 2016.

The 30-year-old Pawtucket man was charged with three crimes, accused of cashing checks from the business account of attorney Robert McNelis at a local establishment, which lost more than $7,000 in the alleged scheme.

“He used me as a scapegoat,” Crook said in an interview with Eyewitness News on Thursday.

Police said McNelis had accused Crook of stealing his checkbook. But a month later, McNelis was also arrested, charged with 11 counts including bank fraud and soliciting another to commit a crime.

“Every check that was cashed, I was directed to do by Rob,” Crook said. “I had no reason to believe that anything I was doing was illegal.”

Crook, who said he knew McNelis because the lawyer had considered representing him in a civil case, told State Police that McNelis had directed him to cash the checks. Police said Wednesday: “The investigation corroborated certain key aspects of what Mr. Crook had told investigators.”

“I had text messages back and forth between Rob and I,” Crook said. “State Police aren’t going to go arrest him on 11 counts just on the word of me.”

State Police spokesperson Laura Meade Kirk declined to comment on those text messages on Thursday. But McNelis’ attorney–his twin brother Ryan McNelis–claims the texts are fabricated.

“A doctored, fabricated text record that Mr. Crook created by a cloned cell phone,” Ryan McNelis said in an interview on Wednesday.

Ryan McNelis said his brother maintains his innocence, and believes he will be exonerated as the case is adjudicated. He also contends that Crook stole his checkbook from Robert McNelis’ Johnston law office.

“He had access to the building and raided my brother’s office while my brother was away,” Ryan McNelis said.

“I didn’t steal them from his office,” Crook countered, claiming Robert McNelis handed him the checks. “I was actually sitting on his couch at his house.”

Crook says McNelis told him he needed the cash to pay back a woman from a case that was the subject of a disciplinary matter before the Supreme Court in 2016. According to the court order, McNelis had a non-lawyer assistant who had access to his financial accounts, and overcharged a client. McNelis paid the woman back $9,100, and was publicly censured by the court for his “recklessness.”

The court said he had ample time to learn from his errors after a previous public censureship in 2014.

McNelis was arrested at the Garrahy courthouse in Providence on Wednesday, and later arraigned and released on personal recognizance. His brother said he was heading on a belated honeymoon to Europe on Thursday.

Crook has a lengthy criminal record, and acknowledges he has broken the law on multiple occasions. He said McNelis paid him to cash the checks back in 2016, and he needed the money at the time.

“I’m responsible for what I do, and what I do wrong,” Crook said. “That’s all on me.” But he says he feels that the attorney exploited him in this case.

“A lawyer who’s supposed to have my best interest at heart,” Crook said. “Instead of having my best interest at heart, he used me as a scapegoat.”

Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Family of woman pulled from Providence fire demands justice

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lucy Feliciano first rented a room at 110 Bowdoin St. in December, her family said, after having trouble finding an affordable apartment.

Two weeks later, the 49-year-old woman was dead. Her body was pulled from the rubble of a destructive fire in Olneyville that burned the building to the ground and destroyed two adjacent homes.

Her devastated family is demanding the landlord be held responsible for her death, and asking why city officials did not immediately condemn the building after an inspection last week revealed numerous code violations.

Feliciano was identified Wednesday as the person whose remains were found at 110 Bowdoin St. two days after the fire, but the Medical Examiner has not determined her cause of death.

“Lucy was a very beautiful soul, she was very happy,” her niece Stephanie Rubio said. “She didn’t deserve to die this way.”

At least two dozen relatives gathered at the site of the fire to place candles in the snow and honor the mother of nine Wednesday night. They brought signs plastered with her photos, and decorated with red lip prints, in honor of her signature lip color.

The signs also listed some of the code violations found in the house by a city inspector three days before the fire, including the lack of heat and hot water. The inspector issued an “intent to condemn” the property after declaring the house “a mess,” filled with debris, dubious wiring, space heaters and propane torches that occupants were using to keep warm.

The building burned down in the early morning of Jan. 6, before the inspection report was filed.

“They should’ve just closed it, simple,” said Yahaira Lavoy, Feliciano’s niece. “He had the authority to close it down.”

Victor Morente, a spokesperson for the city, said while the inspector found numerous violations in the house, “he did not observe any conditions presenting an imminent danger of fire or collapse to warrant immediate evacuation of the building.”

Morente said the landlord, Dexter Jackson, was walked through the condemnation process that day.

“Property owners are entitled to due process,” Morente wrote in an email. “Typically they are given a 24-72 hour window to address violations. As always, the city takes these matters very seriously and will continue to address them if and when they arise.”

Feliciano’s family also believes Jackson should be held responsible for failing to fix the problems. They objected to an assertion Jackson made on Jan. 1, when firefighters visited the property and wrote in a report that “he complained that the tenants are drug addicts who don’t pay their rent, causing him to be unable to pay for the necessary work needed on the property,”

“She never used drugs,” Lavoy said of Feliciano. “She just moved there.” The family said Feliciano was renting a room in the same unit where Jackson lived.

“It’s not fair,” Lavoy added. “We lost someone.”

“He has to pay for this,” Rubio said. “This is negligence. This should be negligent homicide.”

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said fire investigators will need to determine the cause of the fire before deciding if anyone is criminally responsible.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Tuesday, Jackson brushed off his code violations as unrelated to the fire, and denied some of the issues detailed in the inspector’s report.

Target 12 learned that Jackson’s property at 110 Bowdoin St. had previously been ordered to be condemned in 2015, after being deemed “unfit for continued occupancy.”

Another property he owned at 708 Atwells Avenue was also condemned by the city, and later caught fire.

“We want change,” said Jesus Lavoy, one of Feliciano’s nephews. He said the city should be cracking down on problem landlords with repeated violations and condemnation notices.

“This could happen again to another family,” Lavoy said. “That’s why we want justice.”

Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

RI House, Senate to vote on mandated paid sick leave after committee passage

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A bill to require Rhode Island employers to give workers paid sick leave is scheduled to be voted on by both chambers of the General Assembly during Tuesday’s special legislative session, after being left in limbo during the regular session because of the budget standoff.

The House Labor Committee voted to pass the earned sick time bill Friday, sending it to the House floor for a full vote on Tuesday.

The legislation, championed by progressive advocates and labor groups and introduced in the House by Rep. Aaron Regunberg, had been repeatedly amended throughout the year during negotiations with business leaders, who had concerns about the impact on employers.

The new compromise version released on Friday would apply the mandate to businesses with 18 or more employees, higher than Regunberg’s initial proposal but still below the 50-employee figure some business leaders had requested.

The legislation would allow workers to accrue up to three paid sick days in 2018, four in 2019, and five days every year after that.

“It’s a compromise,” said Regunberg, D-Providence, whose original bill called for seven days of paid sick leave per year. “We wanted to make sure that businesses and employers, and especially small businesses, had protections.”

Regunberg said the amended legislation makes it clear that while businesses with fewer than 18 employees won’t have to provide paid sick time, they’ll still have to provide unpaid, job-protected sick time.

“We’re going to guarantee for over 100,000 Rhode Islanders that that awful choice between your family’s health and your paycheck … that could be a thing of the past, and folks can breathe a sigh of relief,” Regunberg said.

John Simmons of the Rhode Island Business Coalition said while his group does not support mandatory sick leave, he found the compromise version to be “respectful.”

“If it’s going to happen, this is a way that was respectful of business,” Simmons said. “The implications, the consequences for business, we feel this is respectful of that.”

Simmons was particularly satisfied that employers who already choose to provide paid sick leave would not be subjected to the requirements under the bill.

The Senate had passed its own version of the bill back in June, which would have applied the mandate to businesses with 11 or more employees. The Senate sponsor of the bill, Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, said Friday she was “very pleased” that a compromise was reached, even if the bill was not as robust as should would have liked.

“While the compromise legislation doesn’t help as many workers as I had initially hoped, it will provide paid sick leave to 100,000 Rhode Islanders who don’t have it now,” she said in a statement.

A spokesperson said the Senate would vote on the House version of the bill on Tuesday.

Local News, News, Politics, Providence, Top Video, Video

Senate panel OKs revised bill requiring paid sick days

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Senate Labor Committee approved a bill Wednesday requiring some employers to offer paid sick days to their workers, minutes after a revised version limiting its scope was released.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Providence Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, would initially have required all businesses in Rhode Island to allow their employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year.

The revised version, approved by the committee on a 7-1 vote, would allow workers to accrue sick time at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked, for a maximum of four sick days in 2018 and five sick days every year after that. The rule would only apply to employers with 11 or more workers. Small business with fewer than 11 employees would be required to provide unpaid sick days.

Under the bill, the benefit would apply to both full and part-time employees, although part-timers would accrue at a slower pace. Employees would start accruing sick time after being employed for 90 days. Temporary employees would have to wait 180 days to begin earning sick time and seasonal workers would need to wait 120 days.

The push for sick days is supported by groups like Rhode Island Working Families, unions and AARP. But business groups have expressed concern about the cost to employers.

“We believe there are some positive changes in it,” John Simmons from the Rhode Island Business Coalition said after the vote. He said his group would need to review the new bill further to see if it’s fair to employers.

Simmons said employers would prefer not to have mandated sick leave at all, but are trying to at least make the legislation more equitable. He said 80% of Rhode Island employers already provide paid leave, but certain industries like hospitality would struggle with this mandate.

“If that person doesn’t show up and is paid…they have to pay that person and pay the person that fills the shift,” Simmons said.

Georgia Hollister Isman with Rhode Island Working Families applauded the committee vote. Her group fought for seven sick days, but she said the compromise is a good first step.

“It’s certainly better than nothing,” she said. Hollister Isman also said the provision banning employers from retaliating against employees who take sick leave is crucial.

“People right now can lose their jobs for not coming in when they have the flu,” she said. “That’s a huge problem.”

Massachusetts and Connecticut are among other states that mandate paid sick leave. The compromise in Rhode Island was loosely based on the Massachusetts law.

The heated debate about the bill has even sparked a Rhode Island State Police investigation.

State police confirmed they investigated a threatening email sent to Goodwin about her legislation, but don’t plan on pressing charges.

The email provided to Eyewitness News came from a local businessman who has spoken out against paid sick leave in the past. The email said in part, “Well listen up…The more you meddle with the hand that feeds you, the more you risk getting bit. We are [expletive] fed up and are extremely close to violent opposition.”

The email was first reported by the Providence Journal.

“It was full of vulgarities which is okay, that’s the constitutional right of freedom of speech,” Sen. Goodwin said Wednesday. “But the ending was a little concerning to me, where he ended by saying he is extremely close to violence. And in this day and age I just can’t imagine why anyone would say that.”

Goodwin said she did think of last week’s shooting of a congressman in Virginia when she read the email.

The business owner whose email address was used for the message did not responds to requests for comment from Eyewitness News, but told the Journal his account may have been hacked.

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Entertainment, Local News, News, Providence, Top Video, Water Cooler

Circus performers get ready for final show in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mother and son juggling duo Victoria Zsilak and Richard Labadi have been living on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train for 18 years. Zsilak is a third-generation juggler, met her husband at the circus, and raised her son to juggle, too.

“We are savoring these last moments,” Zsilak said at a pre-show event for the press on Friday. She and Labadi will perform for the Ringling Bros. for the final time on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Contortionists, clowns, a human canon, a poodle trainer and other performers were in good spirits as they spoke about their upcoming final show. Their tour, Circus XTREME, is one of two tours before the circus shuts down for good. A second tour, Out of this World, will wrap up in Long Island on May 21.

“I personally was devastated when I heard the news,” said Ivan Vargas, a clown. Performers were notified in January that the circus would be closing; it was just four days after Matthew Lish had started on the tour as a clown.

“I was like you know what, I’ve made it,” Lish said. “I’ve wanted this my entire life, I’ve wanted this since I was 3 years old. And I get to be here at this historic moment of the greatest show on earth.”

“I’m gonna take a long nap,” Lish added when asked about his future plans.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been operating for 146 years, and a spokesperson for parent company Feld Entertainment was quick to point out that the show has been running longer than baseball and is older than Coca-Cola.

“It just wasn’t sustainable anymore,” said Stephen Payne. He said ticket sales had been dropping for years, but plummeted after the circus phased out the use of elephants.

The final elephant show was in Providence last year.

“We knew ticket sales would take a hit from that, but it was much greater than we ever anticipated,” Payne added.

Six hundred employees will be affected by the circus shutdown, including 500 performers. Those who spoke with Eyewitness News said they’d continue to entertain people in other forms. Payne said some employees will take other jobs within Feld Entertainment, which produces shows like Disney on Ice and Monster Jam.

The animals owned by the circus are all already set to be placed in various sanctuaries and with private owners, Payne said. Some animals are owned by their performers and will stay with them wherever they go next.

Many of the performers have lived on the circus train for years or decades, and will need to find new homes elsewhere.

“Wherever we move to, it’s going to seem like a mansion compared to my room on the train,” remarked clown Stephen Craig.

Tickets are still available for the final Circus XTREME show on Sunday. The final show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be live streamed on May 21 from Long Island.

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Local News, News, Politics, Providence

Former inmates ask Housing Authority to soften rules

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Convicted felons and community activists pleaded with the Providence Housing Authority on Thursday to allow people previously convicted of violent crimes and drug-related offenses to qualify for public housing.

The Providence Housing Authority, or PHA, is already considering changing the rules to eliminate automatic denials of people with criminal records and shorten the criminal look-back period, among other changes.

The PHA owns 2,600 apartments in Providence in which low-income families or individuals can be placed. Rent is paid partially by the tenant and subsidized with federal funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD).

At the public hearing Thursday, former inmates argued that they’d served their time as required under the law, and should be treated fairly when applying to live in the apartments.

“It seems like folks who go to prison, we are misfits,” said John Prince, who said he was homeless after being released from prison. “We don’t belong…put them in a box, get them out of the way.” He described eating tuna fish out of a can with his hands while he lived on the streets and was denied housing.

“I’m asking this panel to have a heart,” Prince said. “Open your hearts. Give somebody a second chance.”

Edwin Rivera from Providence said he felt the government was “giving up on us.”

“If you people really care, go downtown,” he told the panel. “You’ll see young kids, young people who don’t have nothing, they live under the bridge, in the park…I thought we were supposed to help each other.”

Several dozen people in the audience held signs with phrases like “Fill homes, not shelters & prisons,” and “Stop separating families.” Part of the complaint by the group trying to change the policy, led by the Behind the Walls Committee at Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), is that families are forced to separate when one member of the family has a criminal record and can’t move in to the public housing unit.

Naomi Chasek-Macfoy testified on behalf of DARE, asking the PHA to change its current rules about people who have been convicted of crimes.

“Formerly incarcerated people already served their time,” Chasek-Macfoy said. “And the PHA should not continue to punish people with records by removing them from their families, one of the most valuable support systems for people with criminal records.”

The PHA is already proposing to change its policy, which currently automatically denies any housing applicant who has a history of violent or drug-related criminal activity within the past ten years. The new proposed policy would consider applicants on a case-by-case basis, and change the look-back period for criminal records to five years. It would also completely stop denying applicants based on misdemeanor crimes, and would soften the policy that bans current drug users from living in the housing. The current rule denies housing to people who have used illegal drugs in the past two years; the new policy would limit it to six months.

In order to get federal funding, HUD requires housing authorities to deny applicants who are lifetime registrants of the sex offender registry and people who have previously been convicted of making methamphetamine in federally assisted housing.

The new proposal still needs to be approved by the full PHA board, and then ultimately by HUD. Even if it passes, Chasek-Macfoy said it doesn’t do enough. The proposed policy would place a deferral on applications from people who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime; the DARE group says that would be akin to denying them housing, and ignoring the fact that arrestees in the U.S. are innocent until proven guilty.

“The PHA is not a court judge,” Chasek-Macfoy said. Her group is also asking for the look-back period to be reduced to three years.

Paul Tavares, the Executive Director of the Providence Housing Authority, said he found the testimony to be compelling and emotional. He acknowledged that the current admissions policy is “archaic” and was formed based on anti-crime sentiment decades ago.

“We’re trying to be progressive,” Tavares said. “We’re also trying to balance the security needs and safety needs of our residents.” He said the comments from the public hearing will be sent to the PHA board, which will vote on the proposed plan. Three of the 11 board members attended the meeting Thursday night.

“At the end of the day, we recognize that housing is important to people who are formerly incarcerated,” Tavares said.

Local News, News, Providence

Finance committee approves body cameras for Providence Police

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — A city council panel has approved a contract with TASER International to outfit the Providence Police Department with 250 body cameras.

The Finance Committee voted 3-0 in favor of the body-worn camera contract on Wednesday night, sending the proposal to the full council for a vote in April.

The cameras and unlimited video storage will cost approximately $292,000 in the first year of the program, and gives Providence the option to extend for 4 additional years or cancel the contract at any time, according to finance chairman John Igliozzi. Providence won a $375,000 federal grant to implement body cameras last year. The total cost of the 5-year contract is $1.37 million. Igliozzi said there would be no penalty for cancelling the contract if the city decides the cameras aren’t working out.

Providence Police implemented an 10-officer pilot program with body cameras last year, which the police chief touted as a success.

The ACLU of Rhode Island has opposed the body-worn cameras, previously expressing concerns about the Police Department’s policy allowing officers to manually turn the cameras on before an encounter with a member of the public. But Col. Hugh Clements has said the cameras will improve community policing and could reduce crime.

Providence offered the contract to TASER over VIEVU, another company that makes body-worn cameras. Police said the officers that participated in the pilot program preferred the TASER cameras.

Chairman Igliozzi said TASER also offered to throw in 500 extra cartridges for the stun guns the company provides the Providence Police.

If approved by the full council, the program is expected to roll out at the police department in a few months.

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Local News, News, Providence

Police shoot two suspects in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence Police shot two suspects on Branch Avenue after a short chase in the city, Col. Hugh Clements said Friday.

The officer-involved shooting happened shortly before 10 p.m., Clements said, after police spotted a vehicle that matched the description of two suspects wanted in Bristol. Clements said a deceased person had been found in Bristol earlier Friday.

One man and one woman were shot by police, Clements said. Both suspects were transported to Rhode Island Hospital. The man was more seriously injured than the woman, and both were still alive as of late Friday night.

Two police officers were also transported to the hospital with minor leg injuries.

The situation in Providence began when police spotted the vehicle that Bristol police had told them was connected to the investigation there. The chase lasted less than a mile before shots were fired. Col. Clements said police are still investigating whether the suspects fired at officers.

The suspects’ car appeared to have crashed, and was surrounded by Providence police cruisers on the scene. The back window of the suspects’ car was smashed. Clements said the male suspect was driving, and would not say if the suspects got out of the car at any point.

He said at least one officer fired at the suspects, and it was unclear if others had also fired. Police were in the early stages of the investigation at the time of the interview.

Rhode Island State Police responded to the scene to assist Providence Police, in accordance with state protocol for an officer-involved shooting. Bristol Police officers also arrived on the scene about an hour after the shooting.

Providence police officers remained at the scene Saturday morning, and Clements said that he did not yet have any update on the condition of the two pepole who were shot.

 

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