NAACP Condemns Police Union’s Response to Abuse Complaints

Monday, April 20, 2015

 

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The Providence NAACP has "condemned" a reponse of the Providence Police union, following a letter issued by the Fraternal Order of Police in regard to allegations of recent incidents involving officers, which resulted in the current suspension of the unit's gun task force. 

The letter, which was issued on Friday by the FOP executive board, was stated to be "in response to the Police Department Administration's and Police Commissioner's most recent knee-jerk reaction to another attempt by politically-motivated and biased radical 'activist' to undermine the police work being peformed in our city."

The letter followed an alleged incident -- and complaint filed -- by the son of community activist Kobi Dennis, who works in programs with both youth and police. 

"I think the FOP has responded irresponsibly to categorize [Dennis] and whoever else as "radical" activists.  I thought it was inflammatory and irresponsibile and not meant to come to a meaningful solution of the issue," said Jim Vincent, NAACP Providence branch president. "[Dennis] is one of the biggest proponents of policing and community relations. To think that he is biased against police is absurd."

"They have slandered a community hero, and that's a problem," continued Vincent. "We condemn their statements. We feel that for them to feel that a father who had a son who was approached in a way that was less than professional should not be able to file a complaint -- which we have urged people repeatedly to do --- if that makes him a 'biased activist,' that's an issue. We're calling out the FOP."

"We think the Commissioner did the right thing. There have been so many complaints about the task force, enough is enough.  It wasn't just that one incident.  This one in a series," said Vincent. "Yes, we want guns off the street -- we want guns off the street more than anyone.  But we need it done in professional matter with accountability.  We've worked hard on bettering relations between the police and the community.  We don't need that ruined."

Community Appeal

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Kobi Dennis

Providence resident and community leader Lisa Scorpio sent a message out on Facebook following the FOP response over the weekend, urging residents to contact the FOP, and to let them know they were pro-police.

"We have all read and heard about the problems with the Gun Task Force aka The Jump Out Boys. The PPD union president needs to hear from us. Please send your POLITE, PROFESSIONAL email to Mr. TAFT MANZOTTI - [email protected] Let him know your experience and concerns. Also cc: Commissioner Steven Pare so he can see our concerns are being sent to the President - [email protected] Please feel free to contact me directly if you need help or have questions. Remember WE ARE PRO POLICE just against bad policing." wrote Scorpio.

Dennis addressed the situation on Sunday.

"I would like to know exactly who from the FOP is so frustrated? We all know the Mayor wasn't fully supported by the police union, we all know they never truly embraced Pare because of his RISP affiliation. Mr. Manzotti seems to not understand several of his FOP members are friends of mine and truly are displeased with his labeling of myself and this situation," said Dennis.

"The task force needs to be trained - fact. The task force needs uniforms - fact. The task force needs to meet with the community - fact The task force has hundreds of complaints - fact. I have openly admitted to using my influence to try and bring attention to this matter in an expeditious manner for the safety of the community. My job is to prevent the next Ferguson," said Dennis. "Does the FOP think they and the task force are preventing police and civilian conflict? I hope not because myself and several other front liners are keeping the peace in these streets. I will not meet with the task force on their terms, they blew that opportunity months.  They can meet with me and the community at the public forum on Friday."

 

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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Woonsocket

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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Scituate

Items Purchased: 12

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

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Smithfield

Items Purchased: 15

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

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Newport

Items Purchased: 17

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

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Barrington

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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Cranston

Items Purchased: 49

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

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Glocester

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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Hopkinton

Items Purchased: 100

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

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Foster

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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Coventry

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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Johnston

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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