Officer Lugo keeps job, state leaders now suggest changes to LEOBOR system
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Off-duty Providence Police Officer Jeann Lugo was acquitted of all charges against him, after allegedly punching political opponent, Jennifer Rourke last June during a rally at the State House.
The Providence Police Department was looking to fire Officer Lugo for that incident, and a panel of law enforcement members decided against that.
“Jennifer Rourke has to live with the fact that she knows that an officer who punched her in the face is going to work,” Harrison Tuttle, the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC President told ABC 6 News.
The LEOBOR, Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, hearing on Tuesday was made up of three members from law enforcement, who judged in favor of Lugo, highlighting what critics call a major flaw in the system.
“Providence police chiefs and the mayoral administration can not hold their officers accountable when they do some thing wrong,” Tuttle added.
Mayor Brett Smiley and Chief Oscar Perez spoke about the decision on Wednesday in a statement that said, “Officer Lugo’s actions directly contradict our values and the standards we expect our officers to adhere while on and off duty.”
Perez added, “We made a recommendation, that’s the only thing chief can do is to recommend, and the decision came down that the officer was going to receive 10 days.”
One state representative is looking to reform LEOBOR to not so heavily favor law enforcement members.
Rep. Raymond Hull, who is a police officer, wants to expand the judgement panel from three to five.
“A judge or a retired judge, and also a person from the community. We picked a human relations commission. What that does, is it actually changes the outlook at the board,” Hull said.
He added that it’s important to change the imbalance of the board — “even though I’m a police officer, I’m not blind to the fact that times change, and we need to change with it.”
The Providence Police Union released a statement supporting LEOBOR, and the decision to keep Officer Lugo on the job.
BLM R.I. PAC is hosting a protest at the public safety complex on Friday at 6 p.m. to try and push the repeal of the LEOBOR system.