Some 40 people forcibly crammed into Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office and refused to leave until staff personally delivered to him a petition calling for police officer Matthew Sheridan to be fired.
Led by Direct Action for Rights and Equality and the Providence Youth Student Movement, they chanted, “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”
Upon storming the office, the mayor’s personal security guard called the police, who soon arrived on the scene. Instead of making arrests, the security guard implored the activists to leave the office. He said if they did, he would help set up a meeting. The group said they would only leave if he immediately brought Elorza the petition, which he did. The group then took their protest to the hallway.
“We’re not going to take no for an answer,” said one of the activists, after the group had reassembled in the hall. “We need to fire this officer. I will not let another person I love be hurt by this police force.”
DARE and PrYSM have been trying to get Sheridan fired over several incidents.
Sheridan has been involved in at least several violent and high profile arrests.
Earlier this year, he was caught on a security camera in a violent melee at a Providence nightclub for which he was disciplined. In that incident, reported by WPRI, discrepancies between Sheridan’s police report and security camera footage presented in court caused the judge to dismiss the charges, pending good behavior.
Sheridan was also on the scene when a woman was repeatedly punched by a Providence police officer recently. Pare said, Sheridan “was a responding officer and his role was minimal and he had no physical interaction with any of the defendants.”
Christopher Johnson, a local poet, says Sheridan “grossly lied” when he was arrested.
Stephen Dy, of PrYSM, said Sheridan has a reputation “for terrorizing people, especially on Broad Street”
The petition delivered to Elorza had more than 1,000 signatures on it, organizers said.