Police generally protect and serve the public, but abuses of police power continue to be a problem in Rhode Island, particularly in low-income communities and in communities of color. The ACLU works on various police misconduct issues, such as stop-and-frisk tactics, surveillance, police brutality, and withholding of public police records from citizens.
Police Misconduct in the News
- Dec, 04, 2018: Groups Urge Repeal of Central Falls Curfew Ordinance
- Nov, 24, 2018: ACLU Sues Pawtucket Police Again for Shielding Records of Police Misconduct
- Nov, 03, 2018: ACLU Issues Statement on Arrest of Richard Gardner
Police Misconduct Related Court Cases
2018: Cox v. Goncalves
- Category: Active Case Open Government Police Practices
About This Case:
This is a lawsuit against the Pawtucket Police over the Department's refusal to release reports of alleged police officer misconduct generated by its Internal Affairs Division (IAD). The suit argues that the Department's refusal to release the records is a violation of the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA).
Information on another pending APRA lawsuit against the Pawtucket Police, Lyssikatos v. King (2017), can be found here.
Lawsuit filed in November 2018.
ACLU Cooperating Attorney:
James D. Cullen
More information related to the Pawtucket Police Department:
- ACLU Statement on the Fatal Shooting of DaShawn Cole by Pawtucket Police (September 2018)
- Groups Request Release of State Police Report Exonerating Officer Behavior At Tolman High School (December 2015)
- ACLU Statement In Response To Reports Of Police Actions in Pawtucket (October 2015)
- ACLU Calls For In-Depth Investigation Of Pawtucket Police Department Traffic Stop Practices (April 2015)
2018: Richer v. N. Smithfield Police Department
- Category: Active Case Due Process Police Practices Right to Petition & Protest
About This Case:
This is a federal lawsuit on behalf of a North Smithfield resident, challenging the police department’s refusal to remove from its files a note falsely claiming that he is “dangerous,” “psychologically unstable,” and has numerous weapons at his house. Police officials have acknowledged that they have no basis for the claims contained in the note, which was uncovered while the ACLU was litigating another pending lawsuit on behalf of the resident, Jason Richer.
Lawsuit filed in October 2018.
ACLU Cooperating Attorneys:
Thomas W. Lyons, Rhiannon S. Huffman