It didn’t take long for another video depicting police violence in communities of color to begin circulating. In Rhode Island, two officers were caught on a cellphone recording brutally dragging a Latina down stairs and across a cement driveway by her hair while smashing the woman several times in the face.
The incident, which occurred on May 23 in Providence, a largely Dominican neighborhood, has been gaining attention after footage of the attack was uploaded on Facebook last week.
In the graphic video, Officer Michael Place is heard yelling “get the f**k up” to exotic dancer Carolinmar Torres while yanking the woman from the steps of a front porch. He is then seen slamming her head on the side of the house.
Houseguests, alarmed by the violence, can be heard yelling in English and Spanish. In the video, one screams “what the f**ck?” as another tries to physically quell the situation. The man, currently unidentified, is quickly punched to the ground by a second officer.
According to police reports, someone at the residence called 911 because Torres and another woman were breaking glass on the porch. When the officers arrived, they allege that Torres “became combative,” trying to strike one with an open hand. The cops claim they became forceful once another woman tried to jump on Place’s back.
The video, as with most recordings of police violence, does not show the lead-up to the attack, but should the officers’ claims be true, it still does not absolve them from the excessive force used to arrest Torres.
That hasn’t stopped the Providence Police Department from already trying to justify the officers’ conduct, however.
“Some of the reports I have subsequently read and reviewed after the video came out and then reviewed the video again, so it’s not as shocking,” Providence Public Commissioner Steven Pare said in a statement to NBC 10 News. “Without rushing to judgment, and opining whether it’s justified, whether there could have been other tactics, we need to get all the facts first.”
Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. was also hesitant to call the cops’ behavior excessive.
“The people creating the scene at that location were breaking things in the apartment, so the people who called the police were in complete fear. Officers needed to take control,” he said.
While neither officer is currently facing disciplinary action or on administrative leave for the brutal attack, Torres has been charged with a felony assault on an officer.