Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced a Florida man is facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from an alleged road rage incident in East Greenwich last July.
Joseph Francis, 35, of Pompano Beach, Fla., was arraigned today in Kent County Superior Court and charged with three counts of felony assault, three counts of using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, one count of carrying a pistol without a license, one count of carrying a weapon while intoxicated, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of driving under the influence of liquor, one count of possession of a prohibited weapon other than a firearm, and one count of disorderly conduct.
The Office of the Attorney General filed a notice with the court that it intends to pursue a hate crimes sentencing enhancement in the case.
The evening of July 12, Rhode Island State Police got a call for assistance on Route 4 in East Greenwich because of an alleged road rage incident.
Francis was involved in a near collision with another car carrying three people driving north on Route 4. The state alleges the near collision led to Francis directing racial epithets at the people in the other car. This led to a physical confrontation after all parties got out of their cars, at which point Francis allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the three occupants of the other car before driving away.
Special Assistant Attorney General Robert Johnson IV of the Office of the Attorney General and the Rhode Island State Police led the investigation and ongoing prosecution of this case.
EGPD was at the scene to assist but RISP took the lead.