Man dies after being pinned to the floor for 90 seconds in Rhode Island arrest

·2 min read
<p>Authorities are investigating the death of Joseph Ventre, a 34-year-old who died handcuffed in police custody in Providence, Rhode Island, on Friday.</p> (Photo via Providence Police Department body camera footage)

Authorities are investigating the death of Joseph Ventre, a 34-year-old who died handcuffed in police custody in Providence, Rhode Island, on Friday.

(Photo via Providence Police Department body camera footage)

Authorities are investigating the death of Joseph Ventre, a 34-year-old who died in police custody on Friday in Providence, Rhode Island, after being handcuffed against the ground for more than 90 seconds.

Providence police encountered Mr Ventre early Friday morning after being called about a man screaming in the street who was potentially on drugs.

Body camera footage released by authorities shows Mr Ventre rolling back and forth on the ground, speaking incoherently as officers attempt to calm him down.

“He’s on something,” a voice in the body camera footage can be heard saying. “He’s wigging out.”

Eventually, officers move in to handcuff the man and hold him down on the ground for around 90 seconds. Mr Ventre appears to be in distress and makes pained sounds.

"Due to his erratic behaviour, police attempted to place handcuffs on the subject to prevent injuries and for the safety of rescue personnel," police told The Providence Journal, which first reported the news.

Providence police, Rhode Island state police, and the state attorney general’s office are all investigating the death.

Police tactics involving physical submissions have come under deep scrutiny after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed last year by Minneapolis police, who knelt on his neck and back for more than 9 minutes during an arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill.

Following Mr Floyd’s death last May, Providence officials strongly condemned that sort of use-of-force.

“We unequivocally condemn the actions of the police officers,” Commissioner of Public Safety Steven M. Paré and Chief of Police Colonel Hugh T Clements, Jr said in a statement at the time. “Mr Floyd died because of inappropriate and excess use of force by police officers that took an oath to protect and serve.”

“The Providence Police Department further condemns the kneeling on the neck or throat as proper use of force tactic.,” they added. “This tactic is not part of our training and we constantly review our policies and practices as it relates to the use of force to ensure that these tactics are never used by the Providence Police Department.”

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