Judge Wisely Disregards Maliciously Misinformed Mob in Jeann Lugo Ruling

Judge Joseph Terence Houlihan yesterday acquitted then-police officer Jeann Lugo of simple assault at the June 24 melee at the State House, finding that Lugo was trying

to break free from Rourke who was restraining him from entering the “melee” that occurred at the rally.

Kudos to Judge Houlihan for issuing this wise and thoughtful ruling.

Jeann Lugo was charged on the basis of a heavily edited video that did not show exculpatory events that immediately preceded the alleged assault; i.e., that his “victim” had just committed battery on him by repeatedly restraining him; or fascinating events involving his “victim” after it.  In other words, there was never a basis to charge Lugo.

But the false and defamatory video created by Bill Bartholomew “starring” Jeann Lugo went viral. Hey, that’s all that matters, right?  Truth, reality and the prospect of inflicting serious harm on someone are completely irrelevant to the “accomplishment” and satisfaction of your video going viral.

Bartholomew eventually posted his full video of the incident and melee, presumably after Justin Katz called him out for failing to do so. [edited]

By then, it was way too late. [edited] The harm had been done. Bartholomew’s first, [edited] false video led people – in Rhode Island, around the country and even certain brass at the Providence Police Department – to leap to an erroneous conclusion: that out of the blue, without provocation, a man had struck a woman; a white (wait, isn’t he hispanic?? shut up; he’s white in this case) cop struck a black person; a male candidate for public office knowingly struck his female opponent.

The mob had been riled up and was baying for accountability for the “star” of a false video. Lugo was criminally charged.

Never mind that charging authorities did so on the basis of a highly cropped video snippet, apparently failing or refusing to take five minutes to view the full video (credit: Tom Quinlan) of the incident.  Never mind that if they had done so, they would have clearly seen the “victim”, Jennifer Rourke, giving better than she got, committing battery against Lugo, which led to his act of self defense, and then violently shoving another man.

I strongly reiterate my suggestions:

> Jeann Lugo should consider pressing assault charges against Jennifer Rourke.

> As should the man whom she violently shoved.

> Most importantly to deter the creation of other dangerously false viral videos, Jeann Lugo should consider suing Bill Bartholomew for defamation.

Meanwhile, very fortunately for justice, the judge presiding over Jeann Lugo’s criminal case looked at all of the evidence, including a video of the entire incident, not just a maliciously edited snippet of it, and allowed the facts of the incident rather than a mob ginned up by a false and highly misleading video to steer his ruling. Judge Houlihan is to be strongly commended for doing so.

[Featured Image Credit: screenshot from Tom Quinlan’s video of the melee.]

[This post was edited on September 18 to add the judge’s name and to correct punctuation in the ninth paragraph. Information in paragraphs 5 & 6 was corrected via strikethrough on September 19.]

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1 year ago

[…] Lugo was acquitted in November of simple assault against Jennifer Rourke at the State House melee last June. The other criminal […]

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