Mother of I-95 Shooting Victim’s Daughter: “Had this Been a Black Man This Would Have Blown Up”

Saturday, February 03, 2018


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Tessier and Santos -- their daughter is now in the 3rd grade

Stacey Lee Tessier who had previously dated Joseph Santos and the two have a child together blasted the response by law enforcement and the findings of the grand jury relating to Santos' death on I-95 in November.

“Had this been a black man this would have blown up and you would still be hearing about it today," Tessier told GoLocal.

On Friday morning Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced that the grand jury failed to indict any of the police officers involved in the shooting. Combined Providence Police and RI State Police fired more than 40 bullets at Santos pick-up truck killing him and seriously wounding his passenger - Christine Demers.

“I feel they are trying to brush this under the carpet. I do not feel what they did is justifiable,” said Tessier.

State and Providence Police brass announced relief at the grand jury’s decision. Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police said in a statement, “The Rhode Island State Police believes the Grand Jury made the right decision. The men and women of the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department did what they are trained to do – to protect the lives of innocent people who were in imminent danger that day.”

But Tessier said it was not a reasonable response by the police.

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RISP and Providence Police shot more than 40 times at Santos' pick-up

“There is no reason to shoot into a vehicle that many times when you do not even know who was in that vehicle or if children were in the vehicle. So it was ok they put innocent people in danger whoever else was in the car?? That is what is wrong with this world procedures and policies are bended when it's fitting for them,” said Tessier.

ACLU Speaks out

ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement today in response to the grand jury finding that police officers and State troopers acted lawfully in the fatal shooting of Joseph Santos last November:

“While the grand jury’s decision is not surprising, it would be wrong to consider this the end of the matter. Even if the fatal shooting of Mr. Santos was legally justified, many questions and concerns remain.

Providence police and State troopers put the public at great risk by engaging in an unnecessarily dangerous high-speed chase, and then opening fire on a busy highway after Santos’ vehicle was largely immobilized. 

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Santos' pick-up after the shooting

As our preliminary analysis of this shooting highlighted over two months ago, this tragic incident calls for a serious examination by these agencies of their practices and protocols. We are hopeful that they will soon apprise the public of actions they have taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Tessier and Santos

As Tessier had previously told GoLocal, Santos was one of the nicest people she knew.

“He was fun, loving, and would do anything for anyone. Never had a mean bone in his body,” said Tessier in an interview from her home in Florida.

Tessier and Santos -- he is the victim of the police shooting last Thursday on I-95 --  are the parents to a 9-year-old Juliana.

She is a third grader in Florida.

“My first thought was I had seen the videos — I had no idea it was anyone I knew, ” said Tessier, who told GoLocal she first learned it was Santos when his sister called her to let her know the news.

She is the first to admit Santos has had a difficult life, but was never violent.

“We met in a program for troubled children when I was 14-years-old. We dated on and off for years and first I moved to Florida and he had moved down and we got back together. I stayed here and we went our separate ways. We talked on and off for years,” said Tessier.

Tessier said after the relationship ended and their daughter was born she stayed permanently in Florida. “There was nothing in Rhode Island anymore for me,” said Tessier.

“We talked about three months ago. We never ended on a bad word. He just didn’t fight," said Tessier. 

She said their daughter talked to Santos in January or February just after Santos’ father had died.


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