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Protester suffers dislocated knee after clash with police in Rhode Island
Published: Monday August 13, 2007

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A 22-year-old woman remains hospitalized following a violent conflict with police on Saturday at a protest organized by the Industrial Workers of the World labor group in Providence, Rhode Island, reports the Providence Journal.

The woman, Alexandra Svoboda, was "tackled" by police during the protest and suffered a dislocated knee. She has had one surgery to repair the damaged knee and may face another, as well as physical therapy according to the paper.

The group was protesting a restaurant's use of a New York food distributor they say "is notorious for its slave labor conditions of up to 110 hours per week without basic labor rights." One of the protesters, Balthazar Ramos, said he worked for the distributor and worked "112 hours per week, was paid $4.90 per hour, and was not compensated for overtime."

Police Sgt. Michael Paiva told the Providence Journal that the protesters numbered at least 100, though the group estimates their numbers at 30-40. There was a crowd of "100 people screaming in the middle of the street, refusing to move and disobeying every order the officers gave them," Paiva told the newspaper. Paiva said that one police officer also suffered minor injuries.

Labor organizer Mark Bray told the Journal that the police reaction was "was excessive and there’s no excuse for it." According to police, the girl who was injured was "hitting," "kicking," and "pushing" officers.

Svoboda has been charged with three felony counts of assaulting an officer, along with two misdemeanors.

The image below depicts Svoboda being pinned by police officers after suffering her knee injury. The photo is from freelance photographer Johnathan Ives. More available at this link.