The secretary of the state's largest teachers' union, Louis Rainone, has resigned from that post following his arrest in East Greenwich last Friday on charges of simple assault or battery and disorderly conduct.
In a statement, the National Education Association Rhode Island says:
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.
According to a report by East Greenwich police, officers responded to the Harborside restaurant last Friday at about 2:30 pm for a report of an assault.
Through witnesses, police identified the victim as Kenneth Chatelle of West Warwick. According to the police report, Chatelle said 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 ..."
According to one witness cited in the police report, Chatelle and Rainone were talking when Chatelle pushed Rainone away before Chatelle was struck. Chatelle declined medical treatment, police say.
Rainone, of Cranston, is due in court June 21.
In 2011, Rainone was involved in a courthouse altercation with then-state representative Jon Brien.