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video: Providence’s John Prince Alleges Police Unlawfully Confiscated Phone During Videotaping

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Mary Kay Harris (L), John Prince (R)

Providence resident John Prince, along with community organizers and supporters, held a rally on Monday afternoon to bring attention to what he says was an incident in September where his phone was illegally confiscated by police officers he was videotaping.  

Prince, a community organizer, spoke with about 15 supporters behind him at the Providence Safety Complex, before going in to testify at an internal affairs hearing Monday afternoon.  

Calling it a "modern day house invasion," Prince spoke to what he said which involved officers "taking my phone, apprehending me in my own hallways, without being arrested, for no reason."

According to Prince, who is being represented by Shannah Kurland, the incident took place on Wednesday, September 10, at 265 Elmwood Avenue.  Kurland cited "important cases affirming the public's right to videotape" including Glik v. Cunniffe  (1st Cir. 2011) and Gericke v. Begin (1st Cir. 2014). 

Organizers Back Prince, Cite Ferguson

Prince said that he was taping officers "confronting two women" on a street corner by his house, before he was confronted by the officers, and pursued back to his house, where he said the phone was taken in a struggle in his hallway -- and the video deleted.  Prince named Sgt. Roger Aspinali, Det. Francisco Guerra, and Det. Louis Gianfrancesco in his complaint.   

Read Testimony (Page one, page two). 

Community organizer Mary Kay Harris, who was recently elected to the Providence City Council, was one of the supporters who spoke out Monday for Prince.  

Prince, awaiting the press conference Monday.

"We can no longer stand back and see things happen to our community.  We've worked over the years for accountability," said Harris.  "John has been trained in how to video and document, these are things we've done over the years to combat police brutality."

Kurland noted that a verdict was not expected on Tuesday in Prince's complaint.  

Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association Executive Director Ray Watson drew parallels on Monday afternoon to Ferguson, which was still awaiting a verdict at the time of the rally. 

Watson noted the recent actions in Providence by law enforcement officials concerned about reaction to the Ferguson verdict, and how to respond.

"We just asked they be professional and responsible, whether they agree how we're demonstrating whether we're videotaping with what we're doing our not," said Watson.  "If we're not doing anything illegally, then you don't have any right to step beyond your boundaries.


Related Slideshow: Police Militarization - Department by Department Breakdown

Below are those fifteen local police departments that have obtained military supplies, listed from least to most items acquired. The list does not include acquisition records for certain tactical weapons and supplies for which the Pentagon has refused to release department-specific data. (In those instances only county-level data has been released. That data is not included below.) Records are for recent acquisitions going back to 2009 and were obtained from the Defense Logistics Agency.

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Items Purchased: 3

Summary of Equipment: Dump truck (1 unit), Snow plow plade (1 unit), Truck and tractor attachments (1 unit)

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West Warwick

Items Purchased: 5

Summary of Equipment: Shotgun barrel (1 unit), Immersion suit (1 unit, can be used for underwater operations)

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East Providence

Items Purchased: 10

Summary of Equipment: Radio sets (4 units), Miscellaneous vehicle parts (6 total units)

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Items Purchased: 12

Summary of Equipment: M84 charging handle (8 units, is part of a rifle)

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Items Purchased: 15

Summary of Equipment: Small arms sling swivel (10 units), Optical reflex units (5 units)

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Items Purchased: 17

Summary of Equipment: Digital computer systems (3 units), Flat panel monitors (10 units)

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Items Purchased: 43

Summary of Equipment: Binoculars (5 units), Ballistic protective spectacles (25 units), Sight mount (5 units)

Photo credit: Stanislas PERRIN

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Items Purchased: 49

Summary of Equipment: Armor Plate (1 unit), Survival vest pocksts (30 units)

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Items Purchased: 70

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (12 units), Ammunition-carrying vests (4 units), Ballistic protective spectacles (20 units)

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North Kingstown

Items Purchased: 72

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (27 units), Small arms storage rack (5 units), Satellite systems navigation set (4 units)

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East Greenwich

Items Purchased: 99

Summary of Equipment: Binoculars (10 units), Ballistic and laser protective spectacles (53 units), Ballistic protective spectables (30 unites)

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Items Purchased: 100

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (100 units)

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Items Purchased: 257

Summary of Equipment: Ballistic and laser protective spectacles (6 units), Rifle bipods (10 units), Field pack (10 units, designed for clothing rations, and additional items like ammunition), Passenger motor vehicles (3 units)

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Items Purchased: 1,604

Summary of Equipment: HMMWV (Humvee) M1165 Assembly Kit (2 units), Gun magazines (432 units), Night vision face masks (8 units), Gun silencers (54), Small arms sight mounts (6 units)

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Items Purchased: 2,389

Summary of Equipment: Armor plates (30 units), Demolition firing device (1 unit), Improvised Explosive Device training it (9 units), High capacity rifle magazines (599 units), Chemical protective suit (1 unit), High-speed tractor (1 unit), Diesel generators (2 units), Flat panel monitors (21 units)


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