A Republican Rhode Island police officer running for the state's Senate has suspended his campaign after viral video showed him punching his Black female opponent at a demonstration protesting the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Providence, Rhode Island officer Jeann Lugo announced his departure from the race on his since deactivated Twitter account after he was arrested on simple assault and disorderly conduct charges for the incident.
A Rhode Island journalist posted slow-motion video of the attack and identified the victim as Lugo's opponent, political activist and organizer Jennifer Rourke, and the assailant as someone who "appears to be" Jeann Lugo.
Rourke subsequently reposted the video, seen below, and though she did not name him she confirmed that it was in fact Lugo who violently attacked her at the protest.
In the video, Lugo can be seen punching Rourke directly in the face and then shoving her several times as she reels backward.
Along with the video, Rourke wrote:
"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."
In an email to The Washington Post, Lugo claimed the incident occurred after he had "stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking" during the protest, which occurred in front of the Rhode Island State House.
Bartholomew's full video of the incident shows conflict between protestors and an increasingly aggressive and combative Lugo erupting into a fight, which Rourke appeared to be attempting to de-escalate when he he attacked her.
The day after the attack, Lugo took to Twitter to announce his exit from his race against Lugo.
"I will not be running for any office this fall."
His exit from the race has done little to quell the shock and outrage the incident has inspired.
Lugo has since been released on his own recognizance after surrendering to state police and being arraigned. He is set to appear in court on July 8.
Rourke has said she intends to press charges against him.