As we acknowledge and voice our collective grief and outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, we in law enforcement must also keep our focus on working every day to redress the wrongs caused by centuries of systemic and institutional racism that permeate every aspect of American life and, in particular, the criminal justice system. The lawless, violent and destructive acts that took place in Providence last night do nothing but hurt our communities, exploit the pain felt by peaceful protesters, and distract us from pursuing that important work.

As Rhode Island’s chief law enforcement official, I am committed to protecting the right of all Rhode Islanders to peacefully assemble and protest – as they should in this painful moment in our nation’s history. I trust in my fellow Rhode Islanders to rise above this violence and to work together toward the common goal of ensuring that every person is treated with the dignity and respect due to every human being, regardless of the color of their skin.