WOONSOCKET – When an individual who described herself as a transgender woman walked into Luc’s Bar in Fairmount with a hairless pet rat on her shoulder Monday afternoon, the police showed up and matters were resolved without much fuss.
But things got considerably more complicated a few hours later, when police say they found Britney Jones, still clutching her cuddly rodent, as she lay sprawled on a patch of grass outside Kentucky Fried Chicken. This time, Jones was clearly intoxicated and became combative when they informed her they intended to take her to the hospital for observation, according to officers. During a fracas that ensued when they attempted to get her into custody, she allegedly assaulted two police officers, exposed her breasts and penis to them and threatened to kill at least one of them by squashing his neck between her thighs.
Jones, 42, of 60 School St., North Smithfield, remains free on personal recognizance on condition she seek pretrial alcohol and mental health counseling, according to the judiciary’s web site. She has another hearing in Sixth District Court scheduled for June 12. Jones, who’s never been arrested before, is charged with two counts of simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. She is also charged with violating municipal ordinances prohibiting public intoxication and indecent exposure.
According to police reports, employees of Luc’s Bar on River Street had instructed Jones to leave the premises with her rat around 4 p.m. Monday, May 22, telling her it was improper to have the animal in a bar where food and beverages are served.
Jones protested, saying the rat was “a service animal” and that she was being discriminated against because she is transgender.
Police spoke to a number of patrons, however, who told them Jones had become “agitated and confrontational” when they asked her to remove the furless four-legger from the premises. Eventually, Jones backed down and left without further incident, according to Patrolman Dominic Pompei’s report.
About 9:20 p.m., police were summoned to KFC, located opposite police headquarters, and reportedly saw members of the Woonsocket Fire Department standing over Jones as she lay on a strip of greenery adjacent to the parking lot. Members of the WFD were informing her that she needed to go to the hospital, but Jones was refusing to move, and she didn’t want anyone to separate her from the pet rat, which was still with her, according to reports.
“Jones kept taking the rat and placing it underneath her shirt onto her breasts to prevent the WFD from removing the rat from her,” another of Pompei’s reports says. “WFD retrieved a container to place the rat inside of, however, Jones refused to cooperate.”
Around this time, Jones allegedly began tugging on her shirt to expose her breasts while making obscene comments, according to police. She also began pulling down her jeans, exposing her penis about the grounds of the fried chicken restaurant, which was open for business with patrons coming and going.
Several police officers were summoned to the scene in attempts to remove Jones from the area. Police say she violently resisted their efforts and assaulted two of the responding officers as they attempted to get Jones into a pair of handcuffs.
Ultimately, police carried her into a police cruiser for transportation, but at some point the notion that the destination would be a hospital evaporated and police decided instead to take her into custody without an evaluation. They say she continued to resist after police delivered her to the outdoor entryway to the booking area at the police headquarters, deliberately dropping her pants to her ankles to make walking difficult. Police ended up removing the garment.
Reports say Jones was so combative inside the police station that for a time she was initially held in a padded cell and that her handcuffs were not removed.
Meanwhile, personnel from the Animal Control Division collected the pet rat for safekeeping.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo