Sunday 26 June 2022 05:39 AM Aspiring GOP state senator from Rhode Island suspends his campaign and faces ... trends now

Sunday 26 June 2022 05:39 AM Aspiring GOP state senator from Rhode Island suspends his campaign and faces ... trends now
Sunday 26 June 2022 05:39 AM Aspiring GOP state senator from Rhode Island suspends his campaign and faces ... trends now

Sunday 26 June 2022 05:39 AM Aspiring GOP state senator from Rhode Island suspends his campaign and faces ... trends now

A Rhode Island cop was suspended his state senate campaign and was later arrested after a video emerged apparently showing him punching his Democratic female rival, during a Roe v. Wade protest. 

Hundreds of protesters assembled outside the Rhode Island Statehouse in Providence Friday in wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. 

Video shared on Twitter shows the shocking moment Republican cop Jeann Lugo, 35, allegedly struck Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairwoman Jennifer Rourke in the face twice on Friday night.

The pair had been due to face off in the state Senate District 29 race.  

Rourke, a Democrat, claims Lugo 'violently attacked' her after she spoke out at a Roe v. Wade rally in Providence. Lugo was off-duty at the time of the alleged incident.

'This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won't give up,' she wrote. 

Less than 24 hours after the incident, Lugo announced that he was suspending his campaign.   

The department said the officer was placed on paid administrated leave Saturday morning pending a criminal investigation and administrative review. 

Police did not disclose the name of the arrested officer but said the individual has served with the department for three years. Lugo joined the force in 2019, according to the department's 69th training academy commencement booklet.

Black Lives Matter RI Political Action Committee publicly called for Lugo to resign.  

Jeann Lugo joined the force in 2019, according to the department's 69th training academy commencement booklet

Jeann Lugo joined the force in 2019, according to the department's 69th training academy commencement booklet

Jennifer Rourke said following the incident: 'This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won't give up'

Jennifer Rourke said following the incident: 'This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won't give up'

Rourke sought medical care and received a CT scan on Saturday afternoon. She said she was doing OK but was experiencing a lot of tenderness in her face and ringing in her ears

Rourke sought medical care and received a CT scan on Saturday afternoon. She said she was doing OK but was experiencing a lot of tenderness in her face and ringing in her ears

Prior to deleting his Twitter page he tweeted:' I will not be running for any office this fall.' 

Lugo had told the Washington Post: 'I stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking. 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: 'As an officer that swore to protect and serve our communities, I, unfortunately, saw myself in a situation that no individual should see themselves in.'

Lugo was arrested by the Rhode Island State Police and charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct.'

He had been seeking to unseat Democrat Mike McCaffrey, the Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader. In one of his final campaign statement, Lugo said last Monday: 'Instead of promoting sound solutions to make our state more competitive by reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulations, Democrats find creative ways to capitulate to special interests that ultimately end up hurting Rhode Islanders.'

In separate comments, Lugo told the Providence Journal that he was 'not going to deny' what is seen in the video but that 'everything happened very fast.'

In a call with The Associated Press, Rourke said the incident occurred as she was attempting to escort a counter protester who had agreed to leave. As she was leading the man off the premises, she said, another physical altercation broke out, at which point she was punched in the face multiple times by Lugo.

Rourke said she has never interacted with Lugo before and did not know he would be at the protest.

'I'm disappointed he chose to use violence in this way. As a police officer, he's trained to deescalate. He did not do what he was trained to do,' she said.

The Democrat confirmed that she had pressed charges against Lugo. 

In the police report on the incident, Rourke was left with pain in her left ear and a headache. Rourke said that she never met Lugo before or had any interaction with him. The suspect fled the scene after the attack. Rourke did not require medical attention and took Tylenol for the pain. 

Rourke received a CT scan on Saturday afternoon. She said she was doing OK but was experiencing a lot of tenderness in her face and ringing in her ears. 

Two others were arrested at the same rally for unrelated incidents.  

Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza tweeted: 'I've seen the video and it's immensely disturbing. Those responsible will be held fully accountable.' 

According to his Facebook page, studied at the Community College of Rhode Island. He is married with a daughter. Prior to becoming a police officer, Lugo worked for a security company in Boston. 

Lugo told WPRI in an April 2022 interview that he was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Rhode Island at the age of five. He was raised by social services from the age of 13. 

The bio on his now-deleted website reads: 'In the summer of 2000, a domestic incident resulted in the separation of his family by the Providence Police Department/ Social Services. At age 13, Jeann was placed into the custody of DCYF. Jeann remained in foster care until he reached adulthood.' 

Lugo said in an interview with Cranston Online that one of the reasons that he was inspired to run for office was in response to being on duty during a Black Lives Matter protest in the summer of 2020.  In that same interview, Lugo said: 'Everything that I've lived through I'm basically running on.'

In May 2022, Lugo was quoted by the Providence Journal as being opposed to what he called 'taxpayer funded abortions.' 

Lugo expressed his opposition to Critical Race Theory in a March 2022 interview saying: 'My take on the Critical Race Theory is that it paints a picture of Caucasians, whites as a negative thing. I don’t like the idea of any race or anybody to be seen as bad or good. I believe that we fought this – specifically Martin Luther King. He made it very clear: everyone [should] be treated equally. He wants to be judged by the character, not by the color of the skin. And I wholeheartedly believe [in] that.'

Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairwoman Jennifer Rourke has accused her opponent in the state Senate District 29 race, Providence cop Jeann Lugo, of punching her twice during a protest outside the statehouse Friday night

Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairwoman Jennifer Rourke has accused her opponent in the state Senate District 29 race, Providence cop Jeann Lugo, of punching her twice during a protest outside the statehouse Friday night

Lugo has not denied the allegations and instead said: 'It was very chaotic, so I can't really tell you right now. Everything happened very fast.' Rourke intends to press charges against the off-duty cop

Lugo has not denied the allegations and instead said: 'It was very chaotic, so I can't really tell you right now. Everything happened very fast.' Rourke intends to press charges against the off-duty cop

The alleged assault against Rourke came amid a night of chaos-filled protests across the nation. Thousands of spirited demonstrators took to the streets Friday in cities nationwide to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Demonstrators are pictured outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC on Friday

The alleged assault against Rourke came amid a night of chaos-filled protests across the nation. Thousands of spirited demonstrators took to the streets Friday in cities nationwide to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Demonstrators are pictured outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC on Friday

The alleged assault against Rourke came amid a night of chaos-filled protests across the nation. Thousands of spirited demonstrators took to the streets Friday in cities nationwide to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The landmark 1973 decision was overturned Friday after SCOTUS, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of erasing the Roe precedent altogether.

The ruling restored the ability of states to ban abortion. Twenty-six states are either certain or considered likely to ban abortion. 

Abortion became illegal in 13 U.S. states as soon as Roe was overturned, thanks to specially-devised 'trigger laws' designed to automatically outlaw terminations in the event of a ruling to overturn Roe.

Five other states banned terminations after historic laws superseded by the 1973 Roe ruling automatically came back into place on Friday.

The ruling, which many Democrats claim leaves American women with 'fewer rights than their grandmothers,' prompted outcry across the nation.

Abortion was automatically outlawed in 18 US states as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, thanks to specially-devised 'trigger laws' and historic bans that were automatically reenacted after Friday's ruling

Abortion was automatically outlawed in 18 US states as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, thanks to specially-devised 'trigger laws' and historic bans that were automatically reenacted after Friday's ruling

Republican appointed-Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett (circled) all voted to strike down Roe along with Samuel Alito

Republican appointed-Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett (circled) all voted to strike down Roe along with Samuel Alito

Pro-choice activists were tear gassed in clashes at Arizona Capitol building and dozens were arrested in New York City and Los Angeles.  

The Arizona Capitol building was besieged by pro-abortion protesters Friday night, forcing riot cops to fire tear gas to disperse the angry crowd in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. 

Lawmakers working to complete their 2022 session said they were effectively held-hostage inside, and eventually huddled to a safe location, as SWAT team operatives worked to disperse the gathered crowds.  

KPHO-TV reported the officers opened fire when several anti-abortion protesters started banging on glass doors of the building.

Arizona is one of eight states where abortion clinics stopped performing procedures after the decision was released Friday.

Arizona's Republican Governor Doug Ducey insists a bill he previously passed, banning abortions after 15 weeks, still stands. But Ducey's assertion can only be settled in the state's courts - and some hardline Republicans are already suggesting the original ban on all terminations should remain in place.

The incident sent Senate lawmakers into the

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