Grand jury finds police in deadly RI highway shooting justified

A grand jury determined that the OIS of Joseph Santos, who was caught up in the search for someone who stole a patrol car, was justified


Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A grand jury has determined that a deadly police shooting on a busy Providence highway that killed a man caught up in the search for someone who stole a state police cruiser was "lawful and legally justified."

Joseph Santos, 32, was driving a white pickup, the same type of vehicle police were looking for in connection with the theft of the cruiser on Nov. 9.

In this Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 still file image from an officer's body camera video released by the Providence Police Department, officers converge on a truck driven into another vehicle by Joseph Santos on a highway on-ramp in downtown Providence, R.I. Police shot Santos dead, and injured passenger Christine Demers, who was hospitalized. (Providence Police Department via AP, File)
In this Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 still file image from an officer's body camera video released by the Providence Police Department, officers converge on a truck driven into another vehicle by Joseph Santos on a highway on-ramp in downtown Providence, R.I. Police shot Santos dead, and injured passenger Christine Demers, who was hospitalized. (Providence Police Department via AP, File)

Surveillance video captured by state highway cameras showed Santos speeding away from officers in a white pickup truck onto a Providence-area highway, then getting caught in traffic as he merged onto Interstate 95 next to the Providence Place mall. He then repeatedly rammed another car.

At that point, authorities say, nine officers from Providence and state police shot more than 40 rounds into the pickup. Santos was killed with a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the medical examiner's office. His passenger, Christine Demers, 37, was severely injured.

A different man was later charged with stealing the cruiser, and police have never detailed whether they think there was any connection between the cruiser theft and Santos fleeing.

Police previously said the shooting was justified because Santos was putting lives at risk. But civil liberties advocates have raised questions about whether police followed proper procedures for high-speed chases and use of force.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's office announced the grand jury findings on Friday.

 

Associated Press
Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2018 PoliceOne.com. All rights reserved.