Rhode Island school union bigwig resigns after bar brawl debacle

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EAST GREENWICH, R.I. – NEA Rhode Island secretary Louis Rainone submitted his resignation after being charged with assault and disorderly conduct on Friday, June 7.

eiaRainone allegedly punched a bar patron in the face during an altercation.

The incident occurred at about 2:30 pm at an East Greenwich restaurant called Harborside. According to the police report, the victim, Kenneth Chatelle, claimed Rainone “came up to him at the bar with an attitude. Mr. Chatelle stated that he told Mr. Rainone to go away, but Mr. Rainone threatened to throw him into the ocean. Mr. Chatelle stated that at that time Mr. Rainone punched him in the eye with his fist …”

The East Greenwich Patch has more details:

Rainone, who was not in the restaurant when police arrived, returned and told police he and the customer had exchanged words and the customer had pushed him. Rainone told police he then pushed back and may have pushed him in the face but couldn’t remember.

A Harbourside employee said Rainone punched the other man with his right hand. Another witness said Rainone and the other man had been talking, then the other man pushed Rainone, who then allegedly said, “Oh, yeah?” He said Rainone then punched the man with a closed fist.

The man refused medical treatment but his eye was red and swollen.

NEA Rhode Island released this statement:

We became aware of the incident last Friday and we are looking into it. It is regrettable and though it happened during a union meeting — and not on state time — we regard this as a private matter. Mr. Rainone held an elected position. He is not and has not been an employee of NEARI. At this point Mr. Rainone has stepped aside from his elected position. We will have no further comment at this time.

Rainone works as the property control and supply officer at the Community College of Rhode Island, which prompts us to ask: What kind of union meeting takes place in a restaurant five miles from the nearest CCRI campus at 2 pm on a work day and apparently involves alcohol?

By Mike Antonucci at EIAonline

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