Monday night’s Community Safety Act (CSA) Working Group began with Nick Freeman, manager of policy and research for the Providence City Council, holding aloft a 12 page packet and said, “This first, giant stack of documents here is all the sections of the CSA that, after conversations, we are all generally in agreement on.” Freeman then held up a single piece of paper, double-sided, outlining the seven disagreements the working group would be tackling during the meeting.
The CSA is a proposed, community created ordinance that, among many other things, prohibits the police from profiling not just by race but expands the list of protections to include gender identity, gender expression and housing status.
By the end of the meeting seven minor changes were made, the net effect of which changed nothing of substance in the CSA, but did clarify the legal language to the satisfaction of everyone.
The biggest issue of concern was the part requiring officers to give their name and badge number at every stop they make. A social media post was noted that suggested looking up officer’s names and addresses, for possible retribution. It was decided that instead of name and badge number, the officer’s federal id number be used.
Deputy Chief Thomas Verdi, standing in for Police Chief Hugh Clements, explained that the federal id number is different from the badge number. Verdi doubted he could remember his badge number, but his federal id number is prominently on his uniform. In the picture below it’s the large number 2 over his name.
You can watch the entire meeting in the video below. Absent was community member Justice Gaines and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré. Five people took the opportunity to observe the open meeting. The next meeting of the CSA Working Group will be 5:30pm, Wednesday May 17, at Providence City Hall.