A Providence firefighter is speaking out after allegedly being racially profiled by his city’s police department while outside his fire station.
Terrell Paci said he was in full uniform earlier this week, sitting in a car outside the station with a friend who was dropping off food, when two officers approached with guns drawn, shouting at him.
“The officer on the driver’s side started screaming ‘Where’s the gun, is there a gun’ and I was like ‘I’m a firefighter. I’m PFD, I’m one of you. I’m a firefighter,'” Paci recalled at a police brutality protest.
Paci said officers demanded to search the car even after confirming he was a firefighter and not allowed to carry a gun on duty, but then only searched the area where he was sitting.
“[The officer] then proceeds to continue on to search the back. He then stated due to the amount of stuff that’s in the back, he doesn’t want to make a fuss and inconvenience us with our time,” Paci recalled.
Providence firefighters posted to Facebook that they stand with Paci.
“This situation makes clear that even in uniform – a young black man is not immune from the impact of systemic, institutional racism,” the firefighters’ statement said in part. “While we value our working relationship with the Providence Police, and know there are many officers who are working to change police culture, this incident proves that there is more work to be done.”
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