Jennifer Rourke, a candidate for the state’s 29th Senate District, shared a video Saturday she claimed showed Jeann Lugo, her opponent, slapping her several times. Police later confirmed Lugo was shown in the video.
“I’m a reproductive rights organizer & State Senate candidate,” Rourke tweeted. “Last night, after speaking at our Roe rally, my Republican opponent — a police officer — violently attacked me.”
“This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won’t give up,” she added.
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.
This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won’t give up.pic.twitter.com/ZREDP2dvXY
— Jennifer Rourke (@JenRourke29) June 25, 2022
Lugo dropped out of the race on Saturday. The candidate did not give a reason why, stating only it was not “the right time to seek office.”
“I’ve decided now is the right time to seek office, therefore I will not be running for any office this fall,” Lugo wrote.
The Providence Police Department, where Lugo has served for three years, placed the officer on paid leave Saturday “pending a criminal investigation and administrative review,” according to officials, adding Lugo was off-duty at the time.
The PPD is criminally investigating the behavior of an off duty officer last evening during a protest where a female was assaulted. The officer has served for 3 yrs and placed on administrative leave w/pay this morning, pending a criminal investigation and administrative review
— Providence Police (@ProvidenceRIPD) June 25, 2022
The Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus, of which Rourke is vice chairwoman, condemned the attack.
“We unequivocally stand by Jen and condemn the violent, racist, misogynistic extremism that emboldened this individual — a police officer! — to assault Jen,” the caucus said.
Our Vice Chair, @JenRourke29, was physically attacked by her Republican opponent at last night’s rally for abortion rights. We unequivocally stand by Jen and condemn the violent, racist, misogynistic extremism that emboldened this individual—a police officer!—to assault Jen. https://t.co/l4d5rZA09r
— RI Democratic Women’s Caucus (@RIDWomensCaucus) June 25, 2022
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Democratic Sen. Michael McCaffery has represented the district since 1995. Rourke ran against McCaffrey in 2020, but he fended off the challenge and easily won the general election.
Lugo did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.