A Republican candidate for the Rhode Island state Senate suspended his campaign on Saturday after a video emerged that appeared to show him punching an opposing candidate during a protest following the court’s overturning Supreme of Roe v. Wade.

Jeann Lugo, a police officer who was not on duty at the time, is shown in video punching opponent Jennifer Rourke in the middle of a large Providence, RI rally in response to Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, with the decision overturning Roe.

The Providence Police Department (PPD) announced on Saturday that it was “criminally investigating the behavior of an off-duty officer last night during a protest in which a woman was assaulted.”

“The officer served for 3 years and was placed on administrative leave with pay this morning pending a criminal investigation and administrative review,” the department wrote on Twitter.

The PPD confirmed The Journal of Providence that Jeann Lugo was the officer involved and the outlet reported that Lugo was charged with common assault and disorderly conduct later Saturday.

Lugo told the Journal that he “is not going to deny” claims that he punched Rourke.

“It was very chaotic, so I can’t really tell you now. It all happened very quickly,” he said.

Lugo added in a statement to The Boston Globe: “As an officer who has sworn to protect and serve our communities, I have unfortunately seen myself in a situation that no individual should see themselves in. I have stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking.”

Rourke wrote on Twitter that Lugo “violently attacked” her, saying, “This is what it’s like to be a black woman running for office. I will not give up.

Lugo announced on Saturday afternoon that he was ending his campaign for state senate.

“I decided it was the right time to run for office, so I will not be running for any office this fall,” Lugo tweeted, according to multiple outlets. His account appears to have since been deleted.

The Hill has reached out to Lugo and Rourke for comment.


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