RISD SETTLES: As part of the city of Providence’s $210,000 settlement with a Rhode Island man, who was beaten by police in 2009, the Rhode Island School of Design, which was named in the lawsuit, will pay an additional $45,000.
Luis Mendonca, who has no affiliation with the Providence school, attempted to enter a campus building that houses RISD’s library and a dormitory on the night of Oct. 20, 2009, but he was turned away, according to a RISD spokeswoman. Mendonca was later seen at another, academic RISD building. Two of RISD’s Public Safety officers followed him, briefly detained him and questioned him about his activities, after which he fled, the spokeswoman said.
Mendonca, a resident of Central Falls, R.I., was later apprehended by police in an East Providence parking lot and surveillance video reportedly showed Providence Detective Robert DeCarlo striking him on the head while still in handcuffs. The beating left Mendonca in a coma.
A statement issued by the school’s spokeswoman Tuesday said, “Neither of the RISD Public Safety officers were involved in the subsequent arrest of or assault on Mr. Mendonca, but he filed a lawsuit naming everyone involved in the evening’s (Oct. 20, 2009) occurrences. The City of Providence decided to settle with Mr. Mendonca rather than go to court, and RISD agreed to contribute a small fraction of the overall settlement in order to close the case.”
Earlier this month, Mendonca started serving a one-year sentence for possession of a firearm without a license. Mendonca’s guilty conviction for a felony assault was dismissed by a judge due to prosecutorial misconduct during the closing argument, according to a WPRI report. He resigned from the Providence police force in 2011.
The private, four-year art and design school was founded in 1877 and is located in downtown Providence. The school’s Fleet Library, which opened the following year, is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. RISD has about 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students.