Police ID man who died after arrest in Providence

A Carroll Tower resident died Sunday morning while in police custody.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have released the identity of a man who died in police custody Sunday morning.

Richard Cosentino, 63, died at about 5 a.m. after police and firefighters helped him escape from an elevator at the Carroll Tower apartment building on Smith Street.

First responders cut the power to get the elevator doors open. Once they were open, police said Cosentino became combative and agitated, and he was taken into custody.

“Placed into a police car, and a short time later, at Rhode Island Hospital, he is pronounced dead,” said Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements. “Certainly there will be an autopsy soon to determine a cause of death, and that’s most important here.”

What happened after Cosentino’s arrest will now be reviewed by three independent sets of investigative eyes under a state protocol put in place 15 years ago.

Police said there’s video of at least part of the incident that will have to be reviewed. Sources tell Eyewitness News it’s alleged that Cosentino attempted to hit a firefighter, but investigators are looking into whether that firefighter was actually struck.

Cosentino’s parents said he long suffered from a medical condition, but did not elaborate. They said they had dinner with their son Saturday night, and afterwards his father drove him back to Carroll Tower for the last time.

Millie Rossi, a fellow resident, said Cosentino seemed out of sorts when she saw him the night before.

“He was confused last night,” she recalled. “He was nice before. Dressed nice, had a girlfriend, had a nice car.”

Providence police said Cosentino had a criminal record that exceeded Rhode Island. He was arrested here on charges of felony larceny and tampering with a motor vehicle in 2011, pleading no contest to the latter.

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