Former RI lawmaker charged with assaulting man

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — A former Rhode Island lawmaker who’s had brushes with the law in the past is facing new charges.

East Greenwich police said they arrested former House Minority Leader Robert Watson Friday morning after another man accused him of assault.

The 47-year-old man told police he was driving Watson to court when Watson struck him in the arm with padlock, which he then tossed from the vehicle.

The alleged victim claimed Watson then tried to exit the vehicle while they were traveling along Post Road, so he brought it to a stop. Police said Watson got out and walked across the street and the other man followed, which led to the two getting into a fight on the front lawn of someone’s home.

After they were contacted by the homeowner, police said they responded and took Watson into custody on charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct. He was transported to Kent Hospital and released with a summons to appear in court on June 12.

Watson was previously arrested by East Greenwich police one year ago after they said he caused a scene and shattered a glass door at the Citizens Bank on Frenchtown Road.

In 2011, Watson was arrested in Connecticut on DUI and marijuana possession charges, but the case was later dropped.

The following year, he was pulled over in South Kingstown and charged with marijuana possession.