PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — A Rhode Island police department is seeking to fire an officer after video showed him smashing a handcuffed man’s face on the sidewalk during a fireworks celebration. 4th of July weekend fireworks.
The Providence Police Department said Friday that Capt. Stephen Gencarella was charged with violating several department rules governing conduct, legality and truthfulness.
“Based on the facts and circumstances presented, the Providence Police Administration has recommended that Capt. Gencarella be terminated from his employment,” the department said in a statement announcing its decision.
Gencarella and another officer arrested 21-year-old Armando Rivas for leaving his vehicle parked unattended on a road in the city’s India Point Park on July 3. The Boston Globe reported.
A video shared on YouTube, which has since been taken down, shows Gencarella grabbing Rivas’ head and slamming his face against the pavement while Rivas was handcuffed and lying face down, the Globe reported.
Gencarella is currently employed but took injury-on-duty leave on July 6, a department spokesperson confirmed to the newspaper. Under labor rules, he can choose to resign or request a hearing on the department’s recommendation to fire him.
The Globe reported that on July 5, Rivas did not contest obstructing police, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault on officers; he was placed on probation for a year.
The Providence police union did not respond to a call seeking comment, and efforts to contact Gencarella were unsuccessful on Friday.
A separate investigation into the incident by the state attorney general’s office is ongoing.