Newport councilman asked to resign following assault charge

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The mayor of Newport is calling for a city councilman’s resignation after the councilman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly physically assaulted a contractor over a ladder.

Michael Farley, 45, of Hunter Avenue, pleaded no contest to one count of simple assault for the incident that occurred back on June 9.

According to state police, the contractor was working on a neighbor’s home and using a ladder he thought belonged to that homeowner – but Councilman Farley approached him and accused him of stealing his ladder.

The confrontation led to a physical altercation, during which police said Farley assaulted the contractor.

Farley was sentenced to a one-year filing, meaning if he stays out of trouble for the next year the case will be eligible to be expunged. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim and foot the bill for any of the victim’s medical expenses.

Before Wednesday’s city council meeting, Newport Mayor Henry Winthrop called for Farley to step down. Winthrop was clear, though, that the city council did not have the power to remove Farley, saying Farley would have to either step down or lose his reelection bid in order to be off the council.

“I believe at this point in time Councilor Farley should step down from the city council,” Winthrop told Eyewitness News. “To have that stigma on this council and on this town is absolutely wrong.”

Farley told Eyewitness News he planned to remain in office.

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