The Attorney General this morning filed a “Notice of Sentencing Enhancement Pursuant to the Rhode Island Hate Crimes Sentencing Act” in the matter of State of Rhode Island v. Richard Gordon, pending in Sixth Division District Court.
As alleged in the complaint filed by the Barrington Police Department, on Monday, August 3, 2020, the defendant was involved in an incident involving his neighbor. The incident was subsequently investigated by the Barrington Police Department and, on Friday, August 7, Barrington Police charged the defendant with simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Because the crimes of simple assault and disorderly conduct are misdemeanors, as opposed to felonies, they would ordinarily be prosecuted by the Barrington Town Solicitor, without involvement of this Office. This Office prosecutes all felony offenses committed in Rhode Island, but ordinarily only those misdemeanors charged by the Rhode Island State Police and other state law enforcement agencies. Occasionally, when requested by a municipal police department, the Office will adopt misdemeanor prosecutions brought by cities or towns.
On Friday, August 7, the Barrington Police Department contacted this Office and asked for assistance in the continued investigation of this matter. This Office agreed to provide that assistance. Over the weekend, members of this Office reviewed the evidence collected by the Barrington Police Department in connection with this matter. Additionally, on Sunday, August 9, members of this Office and the Barrington Police Department interviewed the victim and his wife. Based on this review, this Office adopted the prosecution of this case, and filed the aforementioned Notice of Sentencing Enhancement today.
This case remains pending before the Sixth Division District Court. The charges and the Notice of Sentencing Enhancement are allegations only, and the defendant by law is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Accordingly, this Office will provide no additional comment regarding this case.