PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Families in Providence claim more than 20 children were injured after being beaten and maced by Providence police officers on Tuesday night.
The families said in a press conference Thursday that police responded to Sayles Street in Providence after a fight broke out between adult neighbors. They said the officers then began to mace and beat children aged 1 to 17 years old “without warning.”
“We were at our property, they were at their property, they lined up behind you guys like we were getting ready to go for war,” said Taffii Moore, the mother of three alleged victims. “They attacked us. They attacked our children, they attacked everybody that was in this home. If you were recording, they attacked, they pepper sprayed.”
On Thursday morning, a spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office responded to the allegations, saying the Providence Police Department is working on releasing the body camera footage from the night of the incident.
“The Providence Police Department is actively working to redact identities of youth and release the body cam footage captured during the incident on Sayles St. on June 29. This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with video or an account of the incident is encouraged to send them to the Providence Police Department Office of Professional Responsibility by calling (401)272-3121.”
The families went on to say that a 9-year-old lost consciousness after being pepper sprayed, and received medical attention along with a 5-year-old.
Moore said her son, who is fighting cancer, was injured in the attack as well.
“They beat on my son who was ill. Beat him, beat him with batons on his back, you have my neighbor saying leave him alone, don’t touch him.”
Her daughter was among the four people taken into custody, Moore said. She claims to have been held in the paddy wagon close to an hour with no air conditioning.
“(They) slammed her against the paddy wagon, threw her in the paddy wagon. They had their knees in my daughter’s face, beating and punching her, yelling at her that she was a man as we were telling her she’s not a man, she’s a woman. They still didn’t care. They still beat on her,” Moore said.
“For them wanting to protect and serve, what they’re supposed to do, they didn’t do anything like that. They had us in the back of a van for almost an hour. We’re yelling, we’re screaming, I’m on live saying whoever’s outside just open the door,” added Zyrray Moore, one of the alleged victims.
A spokesperson for the Providence Police Department said the redacted body camera footage will be released on Thursday.
The families said they want an apology from the department, and for the officers involved to be held accountable.