By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 24, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The former executive director of the civilian review board that oversees the Providence Police Department who was fired in November after he released video of an officer’s assault on a suspect said in a lawsuit against the city that his termination was retaliatory.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by Jose Batista alleges the city denied him his free speech and due process rights.

Batista was fired as executive director the nine-member Providence External Review Authority after releasing video of Sgt. Joseph Hanley assaulting Rishod Gore to media outlets against the authority’s wishes.

Hanley was convicted of simple assault last week.

Batista’s lawyer, former state Sen. William Conley, in a statement said Batista was fired “because he refused to break the law to help the city minimize the Sgt. Hanley and Jhamal Gonsalves incidents.”

Gonsalves was a moped operator who suffered a serious head injury last October when he crashed as he was being followed by police.

City spokesperson Ben Smith said he could not comment on pending litigation.

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