Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is calling for an investigation after a cellphone video surfaced showing a police officer punching and dragging a woman.
Elorza said Friday that after watching the video he has directed the city’s police chief and public safety commissioner to investigate what happened.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said the video shows police responding to a disturbance outside a home in the early morning hours of May 23.
A police report describes a tense scene on the porch outside the home and a physical struggle between police officers and people they say were combative. A patrolman went to the hospital after being bitten.
The report mentions that the officer pulled the woman off the stairs and dragged her because she was combative. It says the officer used “multiple strikes, wrestling and pressure points” to control her.
The officer can be heard on the video saying the woman “bit through my skin, punched me in the head, and everyone’s recording me like an animal.” The woman, Carolinmar Torres, was arrested and charged with felony assault on a police officer.
Her case was referred to the public defender’s office, which said Friday that no attorney has been assigned to represent her yet.
Pare says he first became aware of the incident Thursday after the video was obtained by media outlets.
Providence NAACP President Jim Vincent said he’s glad the city is investigating. He said after watching the video, it’s clear the woman was difficult to subdue but hard to believe there wasn’t an alternative to punching and dragging her.