Updated: Nov 12
10 Rhode Islanders have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gina Raimondo in federal court asserting that the restrictions she has placed in the state have violated their right to freedom of assembly. The lawsuit also claimed that the governor’s requirement that all Rhode Islanders wear face masks in public denied them “air of best quality.”
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Peter Chafee Card Jr. of Middletown who serves as the lead plaintiff on the case. “Our whole way of life is being trashed,” Card said. “A way to stop a bully. A lawsuit is a good way to call out a bully.”
The plaintiffs also claimed that the governor’s restrictions were unnecessary and resulted in the cancellation of events and gatherings that they would have liked to attend. Card, who runs a business from his own and also is a lay minister for the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-day Saints stated that he was not allowed to minister to church members in assisted-living homes.
“There is so much fraud about this pandemic,” Card said in an interview with The Daily News. “If it spreads so easily, why do they have to stick a swab so far up your nose to find it?”
Audrey Lucas, spokesperson for the governor responded to the lawsuit stating, “The extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe threat it poses to at-risk populations, including those over 65 years of age, has necessitated restrictions around in-person communal events and the implementation of critical public health procedures.” Lucas asserted that any further questions should be directed to the Attorney General’s office.
The announcement of the lawsuit comes as Rhode Island is experiencing a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases throughout the state. Last week Rhode Island recorded an average of 200 new cases per day up from 97 cases a month ago.
Furthermore, last week two additional coronavirus cases were recorded in off-campus Rhode Island College students bringing the total number of cases recorded since the beginning of the Fall semester to 20.