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Newport police detective won’t be charged in violent Thames Street arrests captured in viral videos

Bystander videos from the June incident show Detective Patrick Walsh knocking a passerby to the ground and punching him in the head as he lies near the curb. A statewide grand jury has declined to indict Walsh.

A screenshot from a video taken by a bystander during an arrest on Thayer Street in Newport, R.I., on June 26, 2022.Screenshot via Instagram

PROVIDENCE — A Newport police detective seen on video shoving and punching people during an arrest on Thames Street over the summer won’t be charged with a crime.

Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office announced this week that a statewide grand jury had declined to indict Detective Patrick Walsh in the incident on June 26.

The incident stemmed from the arrest of a 22-year-old man shortly after area bars closed for allegedly throwing a bar mat and acting belligerently, according to previous Globe reports. As officers were arresting Dennis S. Engelson, Walsh arrived to help with crowd control. Officers pressed Engelson up against a trolley, and others gathered behind them. One person appeared to reach to touch one of the officers, and Walsh grabbed him and a woman away and slammed them into a young man who hit a light pole face-first.


Other cellphone videos show Christopher Adam, 22, walking by and stopping. Walsh turned and punched Adam in the face, knocking him to the ground; another video shared with the Globe showed Walsh punching Adam in the head again as he was on the ground.

Lawyers for the two men have denied the police’s account of events that night. The men were charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstruction. Craig Hein, Adam’s lawyer, and Christopher Millea, Engelson’s lawyer, declined to comment on the grand jury’s decision. They said they were focused on their clients’ cases and looking forward to their day in court.

None of the officers at the scene during the incident were wearing body cameras, and their official reports differed significantly from the bystander video.

The Newport Police Department initially refused to release mug shots of the men arrested that night and only did so after the Globe filed an appeal.

The attorney general’s office, the state police, and the Newport Police Department were involved in the use of force investigation, as is standard in Rhode Island.


Material from previous Boston Globe reporting was used in this story.

Brian Amaral can be reached at Follow him @bamaral44. Amanda Milkovits can be reached at Follow her @AmandaMilkovits.