PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island police captain who was seen on video slamming a handcuffed man’s head into the pavement during an arrest has been sentenced to a year of probation.
Providence police Capt. Stephen Gencarella was sentenced Thursday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of simple assault in connection with the July 3 incident. He had previously pleaded not guilty.
Gencarella and another officer arrested a 21-year-old man for leaving his parked vehicle unattended in a travel lane near a city park during a holiday fireworks display, police said.
The department said the officers took him to the ground after he resisted arrest.
A bystander’s video shows Gencarella grabbing the man’s head while he is face down on the ground and forcing it into the road.
The officer’s lawyer said his client used force because he thought the man was reaching for a weapon.
Providence’s previous police chief recommended that Gencarella be fired after it was determined that he violated several department policies. A department spokesperson said Friday he remains on injured-on-duty status.