Metro Weekly

N.C. senator wants to make it illegal to call former governor a “bigot”

Pat McCrory was call an "anti-gay bigot" for signing anti-LGBT HB 2 into law

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory – Photo: Hal Goodtree, via Wikimedia.

A North Carolina state senator has proposed a law to protect public officials after former Gov. Pat McCrory was chased down an alley in Washington, D.C. by protesters while he was in town for Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday.

Protesters recognized McCrory for signing North Carolina’s HB 2 law into effect — which limited the rights of LGBT citizens, particularly transgender people — and chased him down an alley.

McCrory attempted to enter the back door of a building as the protesters surrounded him, yelling “Shame!” and calling him an “anti-gay bigot.”

Video of the altercation was posted to Facebook (scroll down to watch). In response, State Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) is promising to introduce legislation that would protect public officials from such harassment, The News & Observer reports.

It would make it a crime to “threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or on account of, the performance of his or her duties,” Bishop said in an email from his Senate campaign account addressed to supporters.

Bishop, who co-sponsored HB 2, says the “chanting mob” that surrounded the governor should be punished. He wants such behavior to incur a five-year prison sentence, citing a D.C. law that institutes that exact penalty for anyone who “corruptly or, by threat or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, intimidates, impedes, interferes with, or retaliates against, or attempts to intimidate, impede, interfere with, or retaliate against any official or employee, while the official or employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties or on account of the performance of those duties.”

But Sarah Gillooly, policy director with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said that Bishop’s proposal could limit citizens’ First Amendment rights.

“People’s right to criticize politicians — whether in a newspaper, at a meeting, or on a public street — is the very heart of what the First Amendment protects,” she said. “Everyone deserves protection from violence, but politicians who run for and serve in public office shouldn’t get special treatment to shield them from criticism. Any attempt to criminalize peaceful political speech would violate the Constitution and our country’s proud tradition of free speech for all.”

Udai Basavaraj, a activist affiliated with the Greensboro chapter of the International Socialist Organization who posted the video of McCrory fleeing from protesters, also criticized Bishop, taking issue with Bishop’s mentioning him by name in the email proposing the law.

“Sen. Bishop seems to feel the need to propose laws that limit the freedom of expression of individuals and attack the First Amendment,” Basavaraj wrote in an email to The News & Observer. “He, like Trump, is a bully and bullies use positions of power to attack those without power. Now that those bullies are being exposed, they want laws to protect them.”

Basavaraj also justified the group’s public shaming of McCrory, saying: “That was nothing compared to the way he and his posse cornered, marginalized and shamed millions of taxpayers in this state with vicious legislation and made North Carolina and its legislature the laughingstock of the nation. McCrory is an epic fail, a sore loser and he’s still fired.”

See Basavaraj’s video below:

Pat Fucking McCrory and Lou Dobbs[Background to the video]: Triad Area activists took a bus and three vans to attend the Anti-inauguration and Women's March protests. During the afternoon on Jan. 20, several of us were making our way to another event and happened upon McCrory and Dobbs. We came up with a plan on the spot, and carried it out. The result is the video.[Press Permission]: All press and, in fact, anyone should feel free to make use of this video as they wish. I shot the video and you have my explicit consent to use it. Unless you are Sen. Dan Bishop. You can go fuck yourself.[Response to Press Coverage]: McCrory deserved to be cornered and shamed in an alley. But that was nothing compared to the way he and his posse cornered, marginalized, and shamed millions of tax payers in this state with vicious laws and made the North Carolina Legislature the laughing stock of the nation. The failure to accept ACA Medicaid Expansion Funds alone, according to a Harvard and CUNY study, is resulting in the real deaths of living people. Meanwhile McCory and his cabal spend more time worrying about the unborn.As for Senator Bishop, he seems to feel the need to propose laws that limit the freedom of expression of individuals and attack the first amendment. So Sad. He, like Trump, is a bully, and bullies use positions of power to attack those without power. Now that those bullies are being exposed, they want laws to protect them.Indeed, Sen. Bishop has a long and proud history of demagoguery. He sponsored HB2, and subsequently lost millions of dollars in revenue for this state. He co-sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gay people. Fortunately, even the dimwitted leaders of the State House thought it too much and pulled the bill.If Sen. Bishop was really interested in a vibrant inclusive democracy he would help repeal HB2, and every piece of toxic legislation that was passed during the December Special Session. Instead, Sen. Bishop chooses to spend his time attacking me personally and ingratiate himself to McCory. If Sen. Bishop was really interested in protecting the working class in this state, and actually representing us instead of special interests, maybe he could start by proposing a law that makes it illegal for an elected Senator to attack a private citizen.Bishop deserves to be shamed as well, and I and my colleagues look forward to doing so in the near future. As for the the loser McCory, he's Still Fired.[Love Mail to Sen. Dan Bishop]: People should feel free to contact Sen. Dan Bishop regarding his new proposed bill to restrict our speech at his home address: JAMES DANIEL BISHOP, 2216 WHILDEN CT, CHARLOTTE, NC 28211

تم نشره بواسطة ‏‎Udai Basavaraj‎‏ في 20 يناير، 2017

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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