After police charged a Rhode Island detective with assaulting his girlfriend in a domestic incident, he was legally able to file a criminal complaint of his own. Now the woman faces charges, too, the Providence Journal reported Thursday.
John Black’s fellow officers arrested him April 23 after responding to an altercation at a Providence apartment, police said, WPRI reported. The woman told authorities she and Black got into an argument after going out to dinner, and she didn’t want to let him back into her home, WJAR reported.
The argument then escalated because Black, 45, wanted to enter the apartment to get his department badge and gun, the woman said, the news station reported. He allegedly assaulted her while they fought over the keys.
A police report says Black had a swollen black eye and scratches on his arm, WJAR reported. The woman's injuries weren’t detailed in the report, according to the news station.
Black was charged with domestic simple assault and failure to relinquish a telephone (for allegedly preventing the woman from calling 911). He denied the charges, according to WPRI.
Black’s next move was to take legal action for the same April incident, even while he faces charges in the case. Black filed a private complaint charging Charlotte Wiseman, 26, with simple assault, a misdemeanor, and got a district court judge’s approval, according to the Providence Journal.
Now both he and Wiseman face misdemeanors, court records show.
Rhode Island law allows private citizens to file misdemeanor criminal charges. The state Supreme Court upheld the law in a 2001 decision after John Cronan challenged his wife’s move to use her own attorneys to charge him with assault. A judge had found Cronan guilty.
That case centered on whether it was legal for a private person to initiate and prosecute a criminal misdemeanor complaint in Superior Court. The high court ruled in the wife’s favor.
A sworn affidavit says Wiseman, who Black calls his “occasional romantic partner,” punched him in the eye and again in the ear as he was trying to get his stuff from the apartment and leave, the Providence Journal reported.
Black says he never struck Wiseman or touched her “in any way whatsoever,” the affidavit said, per the Journal.
Court records don’t list an attorney for Wiseman. Black’s lawyer has said he “adamantly denies” the allegations, according to WJAR.
Providence officials said in May that a special prosecutor was hired to handle the case against Black to “dispel” even the appearance of favoritism, the news station reported.