The Rhode Island State Police are hosting in South Providence on Monday night what a press release called a ““New Beginnings Community Outreach Forum: A Follow-Up to the Ferguson Decision.”
According to the press release, “The forum will address the recent issues surrounding the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City and the impact it has made on law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
The forum is Monday, December 15, 2014 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at South Providence Recreation Center 674 Prairie Ave. in Providence.
The press release says the forum is “in partnership with Project Night Vision, the Center for Southeast Asians, the Hispanic Ministerial Association of Rhode Island, the NAACP, the Multi-Cultural Center for All, the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, the Chad Brown Alumni Association, the African Alliance, the Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence, and other community groups.”
Jim Vincent, president of the Providence chapter of the NAACP, said the forum will be beneficial for both residents and police officer.
“The people in South Providence, they don’t know the police,” Vincent said. “And for too many people, they don’t trust the police. They see them as occupiers. We want the police in our communities, we need them in our neighborhoods. But we don’t need to feel in fear of them, we don’t need to feel threatened. It’s counter-productive.”
Vincent said local law enforcement has, by and large, done a decent job handling the recent unrest in Providence. But he was critical of Providence Public Safety’s decision to publicly reprimand a Black firefighter for showing support for protesters and publicly exonerating a White police officer for using a skateboard to pin down a Black suspect. He said those two actions drew an unfortunate picture.