A Providence Police Department officer running for state office has pulled out of the race after he was charged with assault after allegedly punching his opponent in the face during a Rhode Island abortion rights rally.
Jeann Lugo (35), was placed on administrative leave pending criminal and administrative investigations into the events of Friday’s chaotic protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 landmark decision had made abortion a federally-protected right.
In a video filmed by radio and podcast host Bill Bartholomew, Lugo is apparently seen hitting Rhode Island Political Cooperative co-founder Jennifer Rourke, one of Lugo’s Democratic opponents for a state Senate seat in Warwick.
Lugo was charged Saturday with simple assault and disorderly conduct and was released on his own recognizance, according to the Rhode Island State Police. Authorities said that Lugo’s arraignment was scheduled for July 8.
The officer’s attorney, Daniel Griffin, said in a statement Monday that there was “far more to what occurred”There is more to the story than has been reported. He stated that he was looking for witnesses to the incident and more video footage.
The video shows several people getting agitated at Friday’s gathering. Some are trying to get one person to leave, while other fights and shoving break out.
“I’m a reproductive rights organizer & State Senate candidate. Last night, after speaking at our Roe rally, my Republican opponent – a police officer – violently attacked me,”Rourke posted on Twitter Friday. “This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won’t give up,”She said.
On Saturday, Lugo tweeted, “I will not be running for any office this fall.” His Twitter account has since been deactivated.
Lugo told The Washington PostHe had sent him an email. “stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking”At the protest. “At this moment, there’s a pending internal investigation, and as the facts of the incident come to light, I request that my family and I have privacy,” he said.
Rourke stated that she had filed charges against her ex-opposer and felt soreness in her ears and ringing in her ears from being struck in the face at least twice.