NEWPORT, R.I. — Six people were arrested in Newport, Rhode Island, over the weekend after a violent brawl broke out between police officers and members of a wedding party outside The Landing Restaurant, on Bowen’s Wharf.
During the altercation, multiple punches were thrown, an officer was allegedly kicked in the groin, and a woman was knocked unconscious for several minutes after police said that she had reached for an officer’s firearm. After the fracas had cleared, two people — including an officer — had to be treated at a local hospital.
The incident, which was captured on video by police body cameras and by a bystander, escalated after an individual was denied entry to the restaurant and then got into an altercation with restaurant staff, according to a police report.
When officers arrived to the scene around midnight Sunday, David Onik, 44, was being escorted out of The Landing by friends and family. Police detained him, and as they were investigating the situation, his wife, Rachel Onik, 41, allegedly “began injecting herself into the incident and became uncooperative,” police said.
She was led away by Sergeant Stephen Carrig, who “grabbed [her] right upper arm,” when she then tripped and fell down on the brick and cobblestone street, according to the report.
“This caused multiple family members who were nearby to crowd around Sgt. Carrig and officer [Jaisen] Cole,” police said. “There was pushing and shoving between the parties and Sergeant Carrig and Officer Cole.”
As the situation escalated, a woman in an orange dress, later identified as Alexandra Flaherty, 31, kicked Carrig in the lower groin area, and the officer lunged back at her “in attempt to restrain her,” the police report said.
“I struck Alexandra in the face with an open hand slap, again to create distance, while I maintained control of the female in the white dress and black jacket,” Carrig wrote in the police report.
A man identified as Robert Nash then “became irate” and intervened, police said.
“As I was pushing Nash away from the area, I felt myself get shoved from behind, which I then turned around where I found an unidentified male directly behind me,” Cole said in the police report. “I shoved him back, and at this time Sgt. Carrig and a female fell to the ground and immediately Nash began striking Sgt. Carrig in the face.”
Video footage taken by a bystander and posted on social media, where it was shared widely, shows a chaotic scene where officers are engaged in a tussle with members of the group.
Cole and Officer Alex White pulled Nash off of Carrig, “and before I could place him in handcuffs, I could feel somebody grabbing and pulling on my firearm,” Cole said in the police report.
“Due to the concern for my safety, I turned around and threw a punch with my left hand which connected with [Rachel Onik’s] right jaw, who was actively trying to grab for my firearm,” the report said.
Rachel Onik was unconscious for roughly two minutes, police said. After she recovered, she was placed under arrest and taken to Newport Hospital for injuries to her jaw, head, and elbow. Carrig was also taken to Newport Hospital.
Brian Hodge, a spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Neronha, said in a statement Wednesday that officials are aware of the incident and will be looking into it.
“As two of the individuals involved have been charged with felony offenses by the Newport Police Department, the Office will review the incident in its entirety, as part of our standard felony case screening process,” Hodge said.
The following people were arrested following the incident outside the restaurant:
Robert Nash, 30, of Marshfield, Mass., was charged with assault of a police officer, simple assault or battery, resisting arrest, obstruction of an officer in execution of duty, and disorderly conduct.
Alexandra Flaherty, 31, of Marshfield, Mass., was charged with assault of a police officer, simple assault or battery, resisting arrest, obstruction of an officer in execution of duty, and disorderly conduct.
Rachel Onik, 41, of Barrington, Rhode Island, was charged with two counts of simple assault or battery, resisting arrest, obstruction of an officer in execution of duty, and disorderly conduct.
David Onik, 44, of Barrington, Rhode Island, was charged with disorderly conduct.
Olivia Costello, 20, of Milton, Mass., was charged with simple assault or battery, resisting arrest, obstruction of an officer of duty, and disorderly conduct.
Kylie Swain, 28, South Weymouth, Mass., was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct.