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Police dept. faces lawsuit over beating, cover-up

Luis Mendonca filed a $7 million lawsuit against the Providence Police Department, the Rhode Island School of Design and the city Oct. 12. Mendonca, a Rhode Island resident, is filing the civil suit following  a failed criminal lawsuit after he was beaten by former Providence Police Officer Robert DeCarlo.
On Oct. 20, 2009, Mendonca attempted to enter a RISD dormitory and was arrested on charges of trespassing.
The same night, surveillance cameras recorded DeCarlo hitting Mendonca with a flashlight and splitting his head open. Mendonca was admitted to Rhode Island Hospital, where he fell into a coma.  
The defendants allegedly tried to cover up the incident by altering evidence and attempting to get Mendonca deported. Mendonca issued a complaint once the surveillance video was released, and DeCarlo was arrested in late February 2010 and charged with felony and simple assault. In April 2011, Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan dismissed the criminal case against DeCarlo due to prosecutorial misconduct.  
But now the Attorney General's office of Rhode Island wants to make another attempt at the case with the help of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the Providence Journal reported.
The RISD public safety office and the attorneys for both the defendants and plaintiff refused to comment.
If the lawsuit succeeds, the defendants will face compensatory and punitive damages for false imprisonment, assault and battery and violation of rights to "bodily liberty and security," as protected by the 14th amendment.


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