By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
The Rhode Island attorney general says the focus of his criminal investigation into a violent end to a peaceful August 14 immigration protest outside a Central Falls prison is the pickup truck that was driven into a row of people, and the use of pepper spray by prison guards.
“We’re looking at the operation of the vehicle that evening and then the deployment of the pepper spray, under what circumstances, whether or not it was appropriate,” said Attorney General Peter Neronha. “Those are all things that require review.”
Neronha, a Democrat said he expects his investigation into the incident at the Central Falls Detention Center will take weeks, rather than months. He was flanked by the Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, Colonel James Manni and Central Falls Police Chief Colonel Daniel Barzykowski.
“I believe my officers acted appropriately and responsibly,” said Barzykowski. “Just an unfortunate incident that occurred, that we’re going to work together to ensure the public trust is maintained.”
“We want to speak with anyone who has information regarding what occurred that night,” said Neronha, and appealed to the public and to witnesses to come forward. He said investigators had already spoken with 31 people, and wanted to look at video footage.
Anyone with information was urged to contact Detective Robert Hopkins of the Rhode Island State Police at (401) 764-5539; Central Falls Police Lieutenant Frank Rodriguez, at 401-616-2508 or Mark Blair in the Attorney General’s office at (401) 274-4400 x2236.