A Rhode Island police captain was charged with simple assault Thursday after he was caught on video slamming a man’s face into the street when the man had already been handcuffed and was not resisting.
But Providence Police Captain Stephen Gencarella is insisting he was the victim, claiming he was the one injured in the incident which took place in July.
The 25-year veteran cop has been on “paid injury active-duty status” since the incident collecting his $105,730-a-year salary, according to WPRI. The department has not explained the nature of his injuries.
Meanwhile, the department’s police chief, Colonel Hugh T. Clements Jr., has informed Gencarella that he will be fired for multiple departmental policy violations.
But Gencarella plans on fighting the termination under the state’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights which gives cops added protection from the actual Bill of Rights that protects us all.
The incident took place on July 3 during the city’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration after Providence Police Lieutenant Matthew Jennette came across a car that was double-parked and called a tow truck company to have it towed away.
The owner of the car, Armando Rivas, 21, came back to his car while the cop was waiting for the tow truck and became irate upon learning his car was going to get towed.
Police say Rivas began swearing at the cop who responded by attempting to arrest him. But police say Rivas began resisting which was when Gencarella rushed over to assist with the arrest.
The video begins with the two cops trying to arrest him, showing a brief struggle before the cops were able to handcuff him.
But then Gencarella grabs Rivas from the back of the head, slamming his face into the streets.
“Stop moving!” one of the cops yells but the video shows he was not moving.
Gencarella’s attorney, Michael Colucci, told local media his client was fearing for his life because he believed Rivas had a gun.
“The suspect, loosely cuffed and not yet searched, was observed reaching toward an area of his waistband that contained what appeared to be a firearm and was subsequently confirmed to be a knife stowed in a gun holster, Colucci said.
Watch the video below.