Lawsuit filed on behalf of man injured in moped crash

Body camera footage issued by Providence Police show officers tending to Jhamal Gonsalves after a crash involving his scooter and a police cruiser October 18, 2020 off Elmwood Ave.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Rhode Island man who suffered a severe head injury when his moped crashed as he was being closely followed by a police cruiser alleges police used “excessive force and physical brutality.”

The federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations, negligence, assault and other offenses was filed Wednesday by two women identified as legal guardians of Jhamal Gonsalves. It seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Gonsalves, 24, went into coma after the Oct. 18 crash.

The suit alleges the actions of police led Gonsalves, who was operating his moped in a “safe manner,” to lose control and hit a wall.

The defendants include the city, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare, and several other officers.

Pare said he had no comment and the department would respond to the lawsuit in court. A spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza said the city does not comment on pending litigation.

Attorney General Peter Neronha said last week that investigators determined the officer following Gonsalves did not directly strike Gonsalves or his moped, as witnesses have said, and no criminal charges were warranted. The officer was suspended for two days for not driving safely and not wearing a seat belt.