The whole world was watching. And when #BlackLivesMatter solidarity demonstrators gathered in downtown Providence, the Providence police were taping. Officer Ron Pino filmed throughout the event on Friday, December 5, sometimes from within the march itself.
“He is videotaping the protest in the event we need it for evidence,” said Providence Public Safety spokeswoman Lindsay Lague.
According to Lague, “both protests were filmed by a uniformed Providence Police Officer” including the November 25th march which resulted in six arrests. At the Dec. 5 action, Officer Pino was not wearing a badge.
Prior to the march, organizers expressed concerns that the Providence Police department would use facial recognition software to identify and track individuals involved with the movement. The group used social media outlets to spread these concerns to attendees. After the event, Lague said, “The PPD [Providence Police Department] does not use facial recognition technology at all at this time.”
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré was also present within the march itself. Commissioner Paré was in frequent contact via hand-held radio and cellular telephone, though a spokesperson declined to comment on Commissioner Paré’s exact role during the march.