The FBI called an investigation into whether excessive force was used against Esteban Carpio, 26, a suspect in the murder of Detective Sgt. James Allen, 50, a Providence police officer. Carpio showed up to court badly bruised and swollen, making his eyes barely visible, along with a mask over the lower half of his face that police said was used as a “spit shield” to protect others from blood an other fluids.
The police claim that last Sunday, in response to being questioned about the stabbing of an elderly women, Carpio sustained his injuries (to his arm and leg, as well) after shooting Allen with Allen’s service gun and then attempting to elude police by jumping out of a third story window at the station. Carpio was not under arrest at the time.
However, Carpio’s family claims otherwise and called on the New England chapter of the NAACP to investigate the matter, who in turn got the FBI involved. The FBI, Providence Police Department and Rhode Island State Police were all involved in Carpio’s arrest and will all participate in a “complete and thorough review,” according to the agencies.
This incident has sparked conflicting feelings from many students. Christian Porter, a Howard University senior computer science student, said that before seeing the picture of the injuries, he was not sympathizing with Carpio because he did allegedly murder Allen in front of other police officers.
“Even though no one is supposed to take justice into their own hands, I didn’t really care about how a criminal was treated before I saw this picture,” said Porter. “Now, I’m starting to think that even though he is a criminal, this is not acceptable and he shouldn’t be treated in such an inhuman fashion. It’s a definite double standard because if a person on the street did that to avenge one of their friends, they’d be locked up and thrown in jail.”
Stephanie Holland, a Howard senior advertising student, agrees with Porter and says that she can see both sides of the argument.
“The obvious sentiments in this police brutality case are to have sympathy for Caprio ‘s mother for having to witness such an atrocity against her son. But what about the family of the slain officer? I cant condone such cruelty, but it seems like an eye for an eye,” said Holland.