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PROTESTS IN RI

R.I. lawyers arrested at Providence protest will be reviewed by high court disciplinary counsel

The lawyers were charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest

Providence, RI - 10/20/2020  -   "Speakout" protesters march down Elmwood Ave. following a protest outside Knight Memorial Library, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and PROV X PVD, against Providence police.  Police were following a large group of off-road vehicles racing through the city Sunday when Jhamal Gonsalves crashed, ending up in critical condition.  -  (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section:  Metro, Reporter:  Edward Fitzpatrick, Topic:  20RIPROTEST
Providence, RI - 10/20/2020 - "Speakout" protesters march down Elmwood Ave. following a protest outside Knight Memorial Library, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and PROV X PVD, against Providence police. Police were following a large group of off-road vehicles racing through the city Sunday when Jhamal Gonsalves crashed, ending up in critical condition. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Metro, Reporter: Edward Fitzpatrick, Topic: 20RIPROTEST Barry Chin/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel will review the cases of two lawyers who were arrested during one of the violent protests last week.

Providence attorney Shannah Kurland and Warwick attorney Chloe A. Davis reported their arrests to the counsel office, which investigates allegations of misconduct and disciplinary complaints against lawyers in Rhode Island. The counsel will await the disposition of their criminal cases, said Judiciary spokesman Craig Berke.

Their lawyer, Allyson Quay of Tiverton, declined comment Wednesday.

Kurland and Davis were among seven people arrested during a protest Oct. 21 over a police-involved crash that critically injured a moped rider.

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Jhamal Gonsalves, 24, of Middletown, had been participating in a “ride-out” through city streets on Oct. 18 along with hundreds of others on ATVs and off-road bikes.

Officer Kyle Endres was following Gonsalves down Elmwood Avenue when another cruiser pulled out in front of them from a dead-end street. Cell-phone videos from witnesses and a nearby surveillance camera show Gonsalves and Endres both making sharp turns onto Bissell Street -- but don’t show what caused the crash or whether the cruiser collided with the moped.


The cause of the crash and the actions taken by police in the aftermath are under investigation by the attorney general’s office, state police, and Providence police.

Despite pleas from Gonsalves' family for peaceful protests, two of the demonstrations last week demanding “Justice for Jhamal” quickly became chaotic -- with protesters hurling bottles, bricks, and fireworks at police, who used pepper spray and tackled people to the ground.

Kurland, who has sued the Providence Police and defended others arrested at protests this year, was charged by Cranston police with two counts of simple assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

Cranston police were assisting the Providence police and state police with protesters at the city line on Elmwood Avenue, where people on off-road vehicles were spinning their wheels and protesters were throwing bottles and other objects at police.

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Cranston police accused Kurland of spitting at two officers, refusing to leave, and shouting obscenities at Cranston officers; Kurland’s lawyer said in a statement last week that she was spitting out pepper spray and questioning why Cranston police were there. She also accused the police of slamming her into the cruiser during the arrest. An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 19.

Davis, whose practice includes civil rights cases, was at the demonstration as a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild, according to a statement from the Rhode Island chapter. She was on the sidewalk when Providence police officers took her to the ground and arrested her for disorderly conduct. She pleaded not guilty at District Court on Thursday.

The Rhode Island chapter of the National Lawyers Guild condemned Davis’ arrest. Davis was “thrown to the ground without warning, destroying her eyeglasses,” the chapter said in a statement. "She was incarcerated overnight ... for no reason other than volunteering to watch over protesters wishing to voice their concerns against police violence.”


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.