Newport police 'investigating' violent incident caught on video involving uniformed officer

·2 min read

NEWPORT — An incident involving police turned violent on Thames Street in Newport over the weekend.

A video that is going viral appears to show a patrol officer in uniform aggressively pushing one man — forcing another to fall to the ground — then striking a second man in the face before wrestling him to the street.

Newport Police Lt. April Amaral in a phone conversation with The Daily News on Monday morning said Chief Gary Silva is aware of the incident — and the video — and more information is being gathered "so they can look more into this, obviously this incident that is going viral," Amaral said.

A screenshot from Facebook from a video that appears to show a uniformed Newport police officer striking a man in the face on Thames Street over the weekend.
A screenshot from Facebook from a video that appears to show a uniformed Newport police officer striking a man in the face on Thames Street over the weekend.

"He's hoping to release more by this afternoon, but for right now, we're all walking into this at the moment," Amaral said. "We have to do our due diligence and investigate this whole incident."

The incident took place near the Santander Bank branch at 292 Thames St., at about 1:20 a.m. Sunday, Amaral said. She confirmed two arrests were made, both 22-year-old city men.

One is facing charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest, and the other is facing charges of obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

At the start of the 24-second video, posted to numerous social media websites and viewed hundreds of thousands of times, two patrol officers are seen attempting to arrest a man pressed against a city trolley.

A third officer, in trying to clear bystanders from the area, could be seen grabbing a man and shouting, "Get the (expletive) back" while driving him down the sidewalk with two hands. The man being shoved collided with another person, who then hit a lamppost and fell into the street as onlookers could be heard gasping.

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At that point, another man, walking from the opposite direction, approached the officer from behind. The officer turned, asked, "What are you doing?" and before he could answer struck the man with an open hand.

"Oh my god," a bystander could be heard saying.

The officer then pulled the man he hit to the ground.

Cranston-based attorney Christopher Millea told The Daily News he is representing one of the men arrested early Sunday. He said his client, whom Millea identified as the man pressed against the city trolley, is originally from Massachusetts, but is working and living in Newport for the summer.

He is scheduled to appear in Newport District Court on July 6.

The incident comes on the heels of one Friday night at the State House in which an off-duty Providence Police officer allegedly assaulted a female during a protest. Jeann Lugo has been placed on paid administrative leave.

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This is a developing story and will be updated.

This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: Video shows Newport Police involved violent incident on Thames Street