Providence police officer on leave after allegedly assaulting an organizer at abortion rights rally

Officer was also a candidate for state senate in RI; he dropped out of the race Saturday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Providence Police Officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday, after allegedly assaulting a woman who was among those protesting at the Rhode Island State House Friday night, the department announced.

These large gatherings are in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, which came down Friday morning.

The Boston Globe identified the woman who was assaulted as Jennifer Rourke, an organizer of the Providence protest and a candidate for a State Senate District 29 seat in Warwick. Rourke told the Globe the person who hit her was off-duty police officer Jeann Lugo, who is the Republican running against her. Lugo told the Globe he “stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking.”

According to a tweet from the Providence Police Department, the officer in question was off-duty at the time of the assault and has served three years on the force. The leave is stated to be with pay.

In a tweet Saturday afternoon, Lugo announced “I will not be running for any office this fall.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza addressed the conflict in a tweet but said he was limited in what he could say, according to the Associated Press.

“I’ve seen the video and it’s immensely disturbing,” Elorza said. “Those responsible will be held fully accountable.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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