PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A state worker who burst into Gov. Dan McKee’s weekly briefing on Thursday afternoon was seeking to draw attention to what she called the epidemic of domestic violence in the country, she told 12 News in an interview shortly after the incident.
The woman — who is not being identified because she said she is the victim of domestic abuse — said she had been looking to talk to Gov. McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, and decided to head to the briefing when she learned they were in the Department of Administration building.
“I wanted to know, what is their position?” she said in a phone interview. “The domestic violence numbers have skyrocketed and no one is doing anything.”
McKee’s state police detail attempted to remove the woman, who was standing between reporters and the governor as McKee was answering questions. She said to the governor, “I want to talk about domestic violence.”
The confrontation began to escalate as the woman tussled with the trooper, at which point McKee ordered his police detail to step back and let the woman speak.
“Let her talk, let her talk,” McKee said.
The woman then turned to the cameras and gave emotional comments about how domestic violence needs to be addressed, adding she had been personally victimized.
“We understand,” McKee told her. “Ma’am, we would be happy to meet with you right after the press conference.”
The woman then left the briefing. Outside she said she met with McKee’s senior communications advisor, Matt Sheaff, who provided contact information so she could get in touch with the governor’s office.
“They gave me a number, and when I am more calm I am going to call,” she told 12 News. “I need to meditate and pray. Matt was very kind, he said, ‘Call me whenever you need.'”
The woman said she recently went through a difficult divorce, but said the motivation behind her outburst was not about her ex-spouse. Rather she said she wants to launch a nonprofit organization aimed at educating children on how to identify “signs of controlling behavior.”
“People need to be familiar with this,” she said. “It needs to be taught in the school.”
She acknowledged interrupting a news conference with the governor – which was being streamed live by multiple news outlets – caught many by surprise.
“That’s how you get change,” she said.