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Providence Police Detective Robert DeCarlo Found Guilty of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in 2009 Assault of Luis Mendonca

Jury Finds DeCarlo Not Guilty on Simple Assault Charge

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced today that a Providence County Superior Court jury handed down a split verdict in the trial of Providence Police Detective Robert DeCarlo (DOB: 11/14/64), of Johnston, Rhode Island, in the 2009 assault of Luis Mendonca. DeCarlo was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum sentence of twenty years incarceration, and was found not guilty on the lesser simple assault charge.

The verdict was handed down after five hours of deliberation and concluded an 11-day trial, presided over by Superior Court Justice Francis J. Darigan, Jr.

“Today’s verdict sends a strong message. Excessive force by a police officer against a detained suspect is a breach of the public’s trust, and will not be tolerated. The actions of one officer can deteriorate the relationship between all police officers and the community they are sworn to protect. I appreciate the members of the jury for their time and careful consideration of all the evidence presented, and I commend Special Assistant Attorney General Kelly McElroy for taking the court and the jury step by step through this complex and difficult case.”

In pretrial hearings, Mendonca asserted his Fifth Amendment Privilege and refused to testify if called by the State. Also litigated in a pretrial hearing, was DeCarlo’s motion to prohibit the State from presenting the video surveillance of the assault during the trial. Judge Darigan ruled in favor of the State and allowed the admission of the video in the trial.

On October 20, 2009, Detective DeCarlo, a member of the Providence Police Department Robbery Squad, monitored a call for an alleged robbery at the Rhode Island School of Design. Mendonca, the suspect in the robbery, gave chase and was ultimately apprehended by members of the Providence Police Department and RISD Security in a parking lot on Benefit Street. Detective DeCarlo responded to the area of 306 Benefit Street and located Mendonca surrounded by law enforcement.

While being escorted through the parking lot, DeCarlo began striking Mendonca multiple times with a flashlight and his foot. This encounter was captured on video surveillance. During the trial, DeCarlo maintained that he was unaware that Mendonca was handcuffed and he further argued that he utilized proper use of force tactics in attempting to bring Mendonca to the ground.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. McElroy. Sergeant Joseph Acampora of the Providence Police Department led the investigation.

DeCarlo remains out on $10,000 Personal Recognizance bail while he awaits sentencing.

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