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Assault charge dropped against Providence NAACP president

The assault case against Gerard Catala was dismissed, but he remains charged with campaign finance violations

Gerard Catala, president of the NAACP Providence branch. (Photo courtesy of Gerard Catala)Gerard Catala

PROVIDENCE — Prosecutors have dropped an assault charge against Gerard Catala, the embattled president of the Providence branch of the NAACP.

The city of Providence dismissed the case on Wednesday, according to Providence District Court records.

City spokesperson Patricia Socarras said the alleged victim in the case did not respond to requests from the city solicitor prosecuting the case. Since the prosecutor could not get in contact with him, the case was dropped.

Catala had been accused by the Providence Police of repeatedly punching a man on Aug. 16 at Catala’s home. The Providence police report said officers found the man “visibly bleeding from his nose,” noting his “face was covered in blood and he had blood on his hands.”


The alleged victim told police Catala punched him in the face, causing him to fall down. “Once on the ground, [he] stated that Catala continued to assault him on the ground with multiple strikes,” the report said.

Catala informed the Globe on Friday that the charge had been dropped, but did not comment further.

The assault arrest came while Catala was awaiting trial on campaign finance violations related to his run for City Council last year. Catala was arrested in January on two counts of failing to file campaign finance reports.

He is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 4.

The Attorney General’s office investigated the case after the R.I. Board of Elections audited Catala’s campaign finance account following his 2018 run for office, finding he spent more than $7,000 from his campaign account that was not accounted for on campaign finance reports.

While the 2018 violations were outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, Neronha’s office found Catala continued to violate campaign finance law during his 2022 race.

After the assault arrest, Neronha’s office said Catala admitted to violating bail in his first case.


The arrests prompted some members of the NAACP to explore removing Catala as president. He was elected to lead the civil rights organization in November, ousting longtime president Jim Vincent.

Steph Machado can be reached at Follow her @StephMachado.