Providence officer accused of assaulting woman at abortion rally pleads not guilty

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A Providence police officer charged with assaulting a woman at a Roe v. Wade rally pleaded not guilty Friday.

Jeann Lugo, 35, is facing simple assault and disorderly conduct charges.

Video shared with ABC 6 News shows Lugo striking Jennifer Rourke in the face at the rally in front of the State House last month. The three-year veteran was off-duty at the time of the alleged assault.

According to the affidavit, Lugo struck Rourke on the left side of her face using his right hand. He followed through and struck Rourke a second time in her face using his left hand, and immediately walked away.

“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 wrote in response to the footage.

Lugo, according to his website, was a Republican candidate running for state Senate. Following the incident, Lugo tweeted that he is no longer seeking office.

Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements pushed for Lugo’s termination from the department.

“Officer Lugo, your disturbing, egregious, assaultive, and unprofessional behavior while off duty, has brought discredit to your name and has tarnished the proud reputation of the Providence Police Department,” Chief Clements wrote.

Clements continued on to say, “Based on the facts and circumstances presented to me, I have lost confidence in your capacity and ability to exercise self-control and to conduct yourself in a civil, respectful, and professional manner. Accordingly, I recommend that you be terminated from employment as a Providence Police Officer.”

Lugo has maintained his innocence since his arrest. He previously offered a statement through his attorney, that he believes there’s more to what happened that night.

“We are working diligently to identify and speak to witnesses, and we continue to obtain and analyze other video footage taken that night,” Dan Griffin, Lugo’s attorney wrote. “[Lugo] trusts the process and believes that the actual facts will exonerate him.”

Lugo’s bail was set at $2,000 on personal recognizance. He was ordered no contact with the witness.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island