Our Conversation With Casada-Jones Special Prosecutor Craig Northcott About His Comments About Muslims

Yesterday we posted an article about a Facebook conversation between the Special Prosecutor now in charge of the Speaker Casada-Justin Jones investigation, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, and Daniel Berry, chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans. The conversation was about Muslims, and Islam.

Northcott repeatedly used the word “evil” when referring to Muslims and their belief system.

It has also come to our attention that Northcott believes protesting NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem was “an attack on Christianity”.

Justin Jones, the subject of the investigation Northcott is now in charge of, is not a Muslim, but he is a civil rights activist who fights for the rights of minorities. Northcott’s Islamophobia and attitude towards players protesting for civil rights has led many to wonder if Northcott is the right person to be in charge of the investigation, and if all citizens in Coffee County can expect to be treated fairly by him.

The American Muslim Advisory Council does not think so.

We spoke with Northcott yesterday morning, before our article posted. Below is our conversation in its entirety. 

HOLLER: We’re going to be running a story about a conversation you had on Facebook with Daniel Berry about your views about Islam and Muslims, and we just wanted to give you a chance to explain where you’re coming from with that?

NORTHCOTT: I’m coming from that as a Christian there’s only one true God, and that is the God of the Bible.

HOLLER: And if there are Muslims in your community, do you think they should be concerned about their ability to get fair treatment from you?

NORTHCOTT: I don’t see any reason why they would be. The laws protect everyone equally. I judge each situation based upon the facts and circumstances of each situation and everyone gets equal treatment.

HOLLER: But you’re calling them “evil” in these messages.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t have it in front of me. Their ideology is evil. If they hold to that ideology that is taught in their holy scriptures, I think I made it clear the ideology is the problem, and you assess each individual as you find them. But the ideology is evil.

HOLLER: But your words were actually that it wasn’t just violent extremists that are evil, what you said was “They’re evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system. They’re no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system” – So it sounds like what you’re saying is they’re evil if they don’t disavow Islam.

NORTHCOTT: Listen, I don’t know how else to say it. You’re going to say what you want to say. I’m a Christian. I believe in Christian values, and there’s only one true God. And any belief system that purports hate – killing anyone who does not comply with that belief system – is evil. I don’t know how else to say it… If you promote that you kill anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe that is evil. If that is what you truly believe you believe in an evil system. And that’s what the Muslim, Islam ideology is, and that is evil. If you don’t profess that, great. If you disavow that, great. But that is what is taught in Islam.

HOLLER: The discrepancy seems to be that – what Daniel was saying is that there are people who are violent and that are Muslims, and that that is evil, but that there are also peaceful Muslims who don’t ascribe to that, but you seemed to keep saying that if you believe in Islam, if you’re a Muslim, that because there are sects of Islam that believe in violence that that makes them a party to it.

NORTHCOTT: Let me say this again – let’s take it out of the context of Islam. Let’s put it in the context of white supremacy. If you believe in white supremacy, and you promote and avow that that is your belief system, that you hate someone who is not white, that is evil. You are tying yourself to an evil system. The ideology is evil. Whether you act on that or not, you still believe in an evil system.

HOLLER: But the equivalency that you’re making at the root of that is that believing in Islam, being Muslim, and being a white supremacist, are on the same level.

NORTHCOTT: I did not equate them. I said let’s take it out of that context. I in no way equated them.

HOLLER: But the point is that you are equating them, because you’re saying…

NORTCOTT: I am not equating them! Let me be very clear. I am not equating them. So don’t put those words in my mouth. I am not equating them.

HOLLER: Sir, your words were…

NORTHCOTT: Listen, if you’re going to try to misconstrue stuff I’m just going to stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything, I’m replying to your words. Your words were “It is no different than being part of the KKK, aryan nation…”

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that!

HOLLER: You wrote it.

NORTHCOTT: No.

HOLLER: You did.

NORTHCOTT: You can misconstrue it all you want. If you want to report fairly, report fairly. If you don’t, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. That’s just the bottom line.

HOLLER: I’m reading the words that you wrote.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t even have it in front of me! There’s a whole context. There’s a whole string of stuff. And I am telling you what I am expressing. If you don’t want to accept that that’s fine, and I will just stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I very much want to get to the bottom of it. I’m trying to give you a chance to explain it.

NORTHCOTT: I just did.

HOLLER: Ok. If you’re someone who’s Muslim looking at these words here – they are painting all of Islam with that brush.

NORTHCOTT: All of Islam is to be painted with that brush. Each individual is to be treated separately. I say that clearly in there. I don’t know how else to say it.

HOLLER: I think Muslims would take exception to the first part.

NORTHCOTT: I can’t help that.

HOLLER: Do you believe this makes it difficult for you to do your job?

NORTHCOTT: No. It in no way affects how I judge each situation. Why would it?

HOLLER: Because if you start out with the premise that people who believe in a certain religion are evil and have an evil ideology, it seems like that would make it difficult to judge fairly.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because it seems like you would not be giving them the benefit of any doubt.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because you started out with the premise that they’re evil.

NORTHCOTT: I started out with the premise that the KKK is evil, can I not be fair to them either? There’s a lot of evil in this world. I start out with the premise that if you shoot someone in the head you’ve done an evil thing, can I not be fair to them?

HOLLER: Again, you just went from – we were talking about Muslims – to the KKK. You just made that jump yourself, you’re doing it yourself. I didn’t make you do that.

NORTHCOTT: You pick what you think’s evil. I’m trying to pick something that is clearly evil. You pick what you think is evil. What’s evil?

HOLLER: I agree that the Klan is evil.

NORTHCOTT: Ok! That’s why I picked it.

HOLLER: But I don’t agree that all of Islam is evil. Do you see what I’m saying?

NORTHCOTT: The ideology is evil. If you believe every bit of Islam, you are assigning yourself to an evil ideology. It’s just a fact. If you are believing in an ideology that promotes killing someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, that is evil. Do you agree with that?

HOLLER: Yes.

NORTHCOTT: Ok, there you go.

HOLLER: But what I think a lot of people would have a problem with is… there are things in the Bible that are violent also, are there not?

NORTHCOTT: There’s plenty of stuff in Bible that’s violent. But it doesn’t promote hate. It doesn’t say “kill those who don’t believe you, kill those who reject Christ” – it does not promote that in any way.

HOLLER: I understand, but I think the issue is that if you are saying that Muslims in general believe…

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that.

HOLLER: You said they believe in an evil ideology.

NORTHCOTT: Yes. That ideology is evil because it promotes hate. What does this have to do with anything of Justin Jones, is he a Muslim?

HOLLER: No, he’s not a Muslim.

NORTHCOTT: Well then what does this have to do with what you’re calling me about?

HOLLER: Because he fights for the rights of minorities, and he’s a civil rights activist, and I think it’s worth people understanding that the man who is now in charge of this investigation harbors these beliefs.

NORTHCOTT: Don’t misconstrue what I have to say.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything. These are your words. This is why I’m calling you.

NORTHCOTT: Let me be very clear – this is the last thing I’m going to say on this. There is a difference between ideology and the individual. I will judge each individual, and each circumstances as I find them. They’re two separate things.

HOLLER: Ok, and to clarify – the point you made about that “there are no constitutional rights, there are God-given rights protected by the constitution, and if you don’t believe in the one true God there’s nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights” – is that something you want to elaborate on a little bit?

NORTHCOTT: You go to our founding documents and it makes it very clear that what is being protected by our Constitution is what God has provided to us – the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness – and those are delineated in our founding documents. And they are specific in our founding documents that they come from our creator. And our Government is established to protect those rights for everyone.

HOLLER: To see the sentence “there are no constitutional rights” I think is shocking to some people who may not have the same outlook on that as you.

NORTHCOTT: Rights are not established by government, the rights are protected by government. That is the distinction I was making. Rights are created by God. They are God-given rights. And they are protected by the constitution.

Special Prosecutor On Casada/Jones Case Says “Islam Is Evil”, And “No Constitutional Rights” Only Rights From The “One True God”

In recent Facebook comments, Coffee County D.A. Craig Northcott, the man now overseeing the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, expressed intensely Islamophobic views, and also added that “there are no constitutional rights” only “God-given rights protected by the constitution”, adding: “If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect” because “no one other than God has given us any rights.”

In February, civil rights activist Justin Jones was charged with assault and banned from the capitol for throwing a cup of iced tea into the elevator in which Speaker Casada was riding. Casada had been dodging a meeting with Jones to discuss the removal of the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard from the state capitol.

In the wake of the incident, Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk issued a “no-contact order” to Jones, which prohibited him from contacting Casada. Days later, Jones received a revocation of his bond because of an email he had supposedly sent to Speaker Casada AFTER the no-contact order, on March 1, according to an email printout sent by Casada’s office to the D.A.

But Jones had done no such thing. We now know the email in question was actually sent BEFORE the no-contact order.

Was it a “computer glitch”? An I.T. issue, as the legislature’s I.T. department has said?

Or was it Speaker Casada’s office – who has been exposed as using deeply racist language in text messages – doctoring evidence to have Jones thrown in jail?

These are questions that need answering. It will not, however, be District Attorney Funk who answers them.

Funk has recused himself from handling the case, according to a spokesman with his office, because his office was the recipient of the email whose date of receipt has come into question, and therefore Funk believes his office’s role as a potential witness puts him in conflict.

Instead, Funk referred the case to the District Attorneys General Conference, an umbrella group that oversees all the judicial districts in the state of Tennessee, which has since assigned the case to the Coffee County District Attorney’s office.

Why Coffee County? According to someone at the District Attorneys General Conference office, that process involves ruling out districts that are too close or too far away, checking availability, and then choosing from the districts that remain.

Coffee County’s District Attorney is Craig Northcott.

Craig Northcott has made it very clear in a Facebook conversation with the chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans that he believes the ideology of Muslims to be “evil”.

Extended excerpts from the conversation between District Attorney Craig Northcott and Daniel Berry, chair of the Young Republicans, follow below, but here are a few direct quotes from Northcott:

“Their (Muslims) belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth.”

“They are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system… They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system.”

“It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate.”

“standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

“to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth”

“There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.”

To be clear, Justin Jones is not a Muslim. He is a Christian who attends Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Still, Northcott’s Islamophobic beliefs would seem to be a problem not only for his involvement in the Justin Jones case – since Jones is a civil rights advocate who fights for the rights of people of color, and minorities in general – but also for his ability to perform his duties as District Attorney in general.

What follows are excerpts from Northcott’s conversation on Facebook with Berry.

The original post is Berry’s, asking if it’s ever “acceptable” to stereotype an entire group:

After a lengthy back and forth between Berry and other Facebook users about whether or not stereotyping Muslims is OK – during which Berry takes the position that it is not – someone then chimes in with an image from www.TheReligionOfPeace.com which makes the claim that “nearly 35,000 deadly terror attacks have been carried out by Islamic Terrorists since 9/11”:

Berry responds that even if that were true, that would mean in infinitesimally small % of Muslims had committed those atrocities: “So let’s damn 1.8 Billion people because of the actions of (a few). That seems pretty logical to me.”

That’s when District Attorney Northcott jumps in.

Right off the bat Northcott says “Their belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth… they are taught to commit many atrocities in the name of their ‘God’ including pedophilia, beating of their wives, female genital mutilation, and ‘honor’ killings… they are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system.”

As for who the “They” are, Northcott indicates he doesn’t just mean those who kill, but Muslims in general: “They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system. Romans 1:32 comes to mind in which we are taught that you are just as guilty before God if you give approval to those who engage in evil acts. It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate. I do not hate the individual but I will not be cowered into pretending that their belief system is legitimate or one of peace.”

Northcott goes on to point to “what is happening in Europe” as evidence.

Berry responds by pointing out that not all Muslims are the same, just as not all Christians are the same, and that the barbaric “customs” Northcott mentioned are only carried out by a few and not part of the religion millions upon millions of Muslims follow. He also addresses many other “misconceptions” in Northcott’s post.

Berry concedes there are dangerous sects of Islam, but that the vast majority are peaceful people. He then suggests they continue the conversation in person, and says anti-Islam ideas Northcott is describing will not be the position of the Young Republicans of Coffee County, because he and other members believe that “close-minded mentality” and “negativity” is why people won’t join.

Northcott does not agree: “Just because some claim to not hold to some of it doesn’t change the fact that it is the core of Islam. Just because some actual or professed Christians disavow God’s Truth on marriage doesn’t make it any less part of Christianity. Falling for political correctness or an individual’s take on Islam is dangerous.”

Berry then tries to impart to Northcott that at the very least vilifying Muslims shouldn’t be at the forefront of what Republicans do, because it doesn’t help the people of Coffee County and takes away from “actual issues” – but Northcott doesn’t go with him on with that.

Northcott: “If the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything, it has no reason to exist. The whole purpose is so citizens can know what the core values of a candidate are if they run as a Republican. If that makes me closed minded, so be it. Frankly, I find that our community and country are crying out for people with principles and the courage to stand up for them.”

Berry then says he trusts Northcott and law enforcement to protect from Islamic extremism or hate crimes, to which Northcott responds he “will work for our community, but standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

Islamophobia isn’t just something he dabbles in, it’s “the center.”

Berry then goes on to explain that he’s not defending those who are violent or extreme, and again reiterates that not all Muslims are. He says he believes there are many misconceptions he’s trying to counter, and that he doesn’t believe “the best way to go about moving people away from Islam (if that is the goal) is to go around and label everyone as a terrorist threat. That pushes people away and isolates them further which in turn has the opposite of the intended effect.”

Northcott answers by telling Berry he finds it “extremely offensive that you chose Easter weekend to be an apologist for Islam,” and says the focus should be on Christ instead and the “historical facts” of Christ’s return, and that whoever believes them “is saved and will spend all eternity in Heaven with God.”

Berry asks D.A. Northcott “not to label him as an apologist simply because you disagree with or don’t understand my stance, to which Northcott decides to summarize it all and then he’s “moving on”.

To summarize, Northcott turns to bullet points.

#1 is that Berry saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God is “blasphemy”.

#2 is that he’s troubled Berry hasn’t cited any scripture, only the Koran.

But #3 is the kicker…

3) There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.

Quite a statement from a District Attorney.

In bullet point #4 Northcott says if being D.A. means he has to stay silent on this, he doesn’t want his job: “I will not be silenced by implications that I am not and can not do my job correctly if I don’t agree with you. If I have to remain silent and not give a defense of the Gospel, I don’t want my job.”

He then says he’s “clearly” not required to stay silent because he has freedom of speech.

In #5 Northcott says “to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth” – then goes on to tell Berry where to find *better* info about Islam.

Did #3 concern you? It concerned Berry too.

Berry says, “I would argue #3 disqualified you from being D.A.”

Berry says Northcott represents “EVERY SINGLE PERSON” as an elected official regardless of their beliefs, “Not just Christians,” and says #3 concerns him greatly because he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Northcott then elaborates on #3, adding that “Rights come from God”, and therefore “if there is no God there is nothing to protect”.

Berry says one of those rights is the freedom of religion and asks if Northcott defends that right regardless of which religion it is. Northcott responds by citing the Declaration of Independence and says the Founding Fathers asserted our “self-evident” rights come from God, and among them is the freedom of religion – even if it means not worshipping Him: “So, yes, freedom of religion comes from God even when that freedom results in rejecting him.”

Northcott says he does defend the right to freedom of religion, as long as nobody gets hurt, but again reminds Berry he thinks Islam = Hate: “No one including myself or the government can stop the mental attitude of hate.”

He then goes on to say Berry saying bullet point #3 disqualified him from office was said “without factual basis” and therefore “ends up just harming your (Berry’s) credibility.

Berry seems relieved Northcott does defend Freedom of Religion, and suggests Northcott’s bullet point #3 where he says “there are no Constitutional rights” was “easily misinterpreted” by anyone reading it.

Berry apologizes to Northcott, and elaborates on his views.

Northcott accepts his apology, and offers to come by and teach on the subject of the role of Christians in government (which does not seem to subscribe to the separation of church and state).

In summation, the man now in charge of Justin Jones case thinks Islam is”evil” and on par with the KKK, and that there’s no such thing as constitutional rights, only rights the one true God gave us that the constitution upholds. 

Northcott has also “liked” the page of Act! For Coffee County, the Coffee County chapter of Act for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group.

When contacted for comment by the Holler, Northcott responded:

“The laws protect everyone equally. I judge every situation based up on the facts and circumstances… you assess each individual as you find them, but the ideology is evil.”

While Berry told us:

“I was a little alarmed in the statement he made regarding that ‘all rights come from the one true God.’ Coming from a prosecutor, that’s a little alarming. I believe religion is separate from the law. When you become an elected official it’s ok to hang onto those beliefs but you have to separate those on some level.”

As for Northcott’s beliefs about Muslims, Berry says:

“I think he’s absolutely wrong in his beliefs. I understand his fear, but when I read those comments as a non-Muslim, they’re extremely offensive to me. If I were a Muslim, especially coming from a public official, I’d find that to be extremely offensive and not becoming of somebody in that position.”

Does Berry believe Justin Jones should be concerned about Northcott’s ability to oversee a case like this?

“I would be extremely concerned if I was an activist (like Jones) fighting for those rights and that was the person on my case, having read those comment. I would question his ability to be fair.”

If after reading all of this you agree that Justin Jones – and people of color, and Muslims in general – may have a hard time getting justice from a man who holds these beliefs, feel free to holler at District Attorney Northcott HERE.

Casada Talks To Phil Valentine, Defends Racist Staffer, Calls Out Phil Williams

Speaker Glen Casada recently went on Phil Valentine’s radio show on 99.7 to address the recent situation(s) with his racist chief of staff. It was the longest Casada has spoken about the issues, so we figured we’d break down what he said here…

They started by talking about the dust-up at the legislature on the final day, where Democrats were kept off of key committees then locked inside the house by Casada when they attempted to leave in protest during a recess.

Valentine asks:

“Let’s start with this whole notion Democrats were locked inside the house floor, is there any truth to that?”

He seems to expect Casada to say “nope, no truth at all”. Casada does not:

“They were elected to serve the people, and to vote. State law is very clear that if you’re not there in the chamber the speaker has the authority to come get you by state trooper… if they had left the building I was going to have state troopers come get ’em.”

In other words, yes, he did that.

Valentine then recalibrates, calling it “routine”. Casada agrees, saying the law is if you’re going to be a state legislator “you cannot leave with no cause” and “We’re not going to forcefully hold someone in a room. But we were reminding them of their duties.”

Welcome to Glen Casada’s Tennessee.

Anyway, moving on… next Valentine brings up Speaker Casada’s $200,000 chief of staff Cade Cothren’s text messages, which call Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winson a “thug nig*er” and says “black people are idiots”, among other things.

Here are some screen shots from Channel 5’s Phil Williams, who broke the story:

Valentine:

“The text messages – You’ve seen those. Are they real?”

Casada:

“You know, I asked my chief of staff point blank: ‘Did you do this?’ He said, ‘Glen, you know me. You know my character… Phil, I’ve worked with him for 10 years. I have never heard him make a derogatory, racist, or bigoted statement.”

Well, if you asked him and he said “no” Glen, that should be good enough for anyone!

This seems like a good time to point out that we uncovered Cade’s Venmo account which also has racist *digital blackface* emojis, as well as some blatant homophobia:

Also, Cade Cothren has now deleted all of his social media accounts. Not quite the actions of an innocent man.

Casada then turns to the issue of whether or not his office falsified evidence by changing the date on an email to frame civil rights activist Justin Jones and get him thrown in jail for violating a no-contact order, as Channel 5 reported.

To Recap: Jones sent an email to Casada’s office on February 25th. Casada’s office says they received it March 1st, which would violate a no-contact order put on Jones by the D.A.’s office in the wake of an assault charge for throwing iced tea at the speaker, who was avoiding meeting with Jones about removing the bust of the first KKK Grand Wizard sitting in the capitol.

Casada’s Chief of Staff had previously lied to Jones, telling him he was misspelling the word “capitol” in his emails, when he wasn’t.

Upon receipt of the email with the March 1st date from Casada’s office, D.A. Glenn Funk’s office filed a motion to have Jones thrown in jail, before eventually circling back to Casada’s office about the date discrepancy and dropping the motion.

Here’s the latest explanation for what happened, from I.T. at the legislature – which says the email was held by them before releasing it days later.

But forgive us for remaining skeptical, since we’ve heard from state reps who say they’ve received pornography from outside the legislature without it being caught up in the system.

Questions remain:

Why would a REPLY from someone Cothren was already emailing with get caught up in the system?

And would the date on a “quarantined” email say when it hit the Speaker’s office, or when it initially hit the system? (We’ve heard from many IT people who say the latter)

And why would these messages from Phil Williams, which contain no inflammatory content, not have made it through to Casada’s office?

All due respect to the I.T. department at the legislature, we’re going to need to hear from someone who doesn’t work for Speaker Casada about all of this.

D.A. Glenn Funk’s office needs to investigate.

We’ve asked Funk’s office what the scope of the special prosecutor’s investigation is – are they looking into all of this? Or are they just looking into the actions of Justin Jones? 

So far we haven’t heard back.

The racists texts from Casada’s Chief of Staff are one thing, but if his office was intentionally falsifying evidence to get a man thrown in jail, that’s something that must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Back to the interview, Casada then tried to use the technical defense of the date discrepancy to turn the tables on Channel 5’s Phil Williams, essentially saying that if the falsification of evidence story was explainable, that then calls the racist text messages part of the story into question:

“Here’s what we know about this Phil Williams story – the emails he alleged that we doctored is false, and our I.T. department has contacted Channel 5 and said here’s the timeline, here’s the evidence that it went into Casada’s office on March 1st… they still allege we tampered with it. The evidence shows we didn’t. If Channel 5 is willing to run a story they know isn’t true – or at a minimum, misleading – could the rest of the story be false? Did someone feed Phil Williams false text messages that were not real?”

See what Casada’s doing there? He’s using a maybe plausible explanation for the email date discrepancy to then cast aspersions on the veracity of the racists texts from his Chief of Staff Cade Cothren – and, in turn, Phil Williams of Channel 5.

Here’s the problem though: As you can see above, Cothren wasn’t responding to Phil Williams when he was asking for an explanation. He also didn’t respond when Williams showed up with a camera, and neither did Casada, whose only answer was “I know nothing, about that.”

Then, hours later, they had their story straight.

So to act like Williams didn’t give them every opportunity to explain themselves is simply disingenuous.

As for the veracity of the texts – again, this is something that is easily proven or disproven by whoever has the texts. But knowing what we know about Cothren’s Venmo account (see above), it’s hard to believe they aren’t real.

And in the background of all of this is the fact that this started because the speaker refuses to move the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard, and that the speaker supported and promoted admitted child sex abuser Rep. David Byrd – while lying about the easily disprovable fact that he had met with Byrd’s victims, when he had not.

You can see why anyone who’s paying attention would have trouble taking Casada’s word for anything these days.

Casada then goes on to tell Phil Valentine he has “full faith and confidence” that his chief of staff is not a racist:

“I am convinced in this environment that we live in, because we as conservatives are winning the intellectual battle, I’m convinced some liberal guy living with his mom and dad in their basement created this to frame my chief of staff… I can’t prove it, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

No, Glen – your chief of staff being a racist also makes a lot of sense.

Also, racism and forgery are not partisan issues. Casada would like to politicize this, but Every Tennessean who isn’t a racist should be deeply concerned if Casada’s #1 guy is using the N word and calling black people “idiots”, and his office framing people.

The callback to President Trump’s “guy living in a basement” excuse is cute, but let’s not forget Trump used that to say Russia was NOT hacking and tampering with our election, which we now know from Mueller they WERE.

May want to choose a better example next time, Glen.

Valentine then asks Casada what he’ll do if he *finds out* the text messages are real (reminder: he knows they are, so take this with a grain of salt).

Casada:

“There is no room for anybody at the state capitol to be bigoted or a racist or a hatemongerer. So no matter who it is they would be either resigned or let go. But that’s how much confidence I have in my chief of staff that he did not do this.”

He’s on record: If they’re real, Cade’s gone.

Valentine asks Casada if he’ll require Cothren to turn over his phone. Casada says it’s his personal phone so he can’t compel him to turn it over:

“That would be a bar we ask no one else to comply with… he in front of me typed in key words to see if it would pop up on his phone, and it did not.”

As we all know, all you need to do is delete the text conversation for the words to disappear, so this is a really bad excuse.

Casada then goes on to poke the hornets nest that is Phil Williams:

“Phil Williams gets sued for slander about every other day. So this is not the first time he’s run that kind of story… he knew it wasn’t true, and they still ran the story.”

In a truth-off between Glen Casada and Phil Williams, we’ll ride with Williams 10 times out of 10.

We’re not sure going at Williams like this is in the Speaker’s best interest, but time will tell. In the meantime we’ll have our DVR set for Channel 5 at 6pm for the foreseeable future.

Casada also added:

“When we found out the next day, we opened it up and read it, and in the body of the email from Justin Jones it did say February 25, we contacted the D.A.’s office and we said look we said this but we don’t know why it says February 25th… our I.T. Department can 100% say it didn’t go into my inbox until March 1st.”

It’s unclear who initiated the dialogue about the date discrepancy. Some emails seem to show it was actually the D.A.’s office who caught it, not Casada’s office. Also, “the next day” is an interesting phrase to use, since the motion to revoke Jones’ bond was filed on March 4th.

Casada then closes by saying:

“I’ve done a little research. These messages can be created and made to look authentic. That’s why I’m convinced this is a hatchet job by liberal activists.”

Again, Cothren has deleted all social media. He was racist and homophobic on Venmo. He lied to Justin Jones about misspelling “capitol” in emails, and Casada himself lied about meeting with Rep. Byrd’s victims.

Casada has repeatedly shown us his relationship with the truth is distant. Regardless of party, everyone should be concerned about what it says about Tennessee’s speaker of the house that he’s so willing to support admitted child sex offenders and blatant racists.

Valentine then asks about Cothren’s $200,000 a year salary, and asks Casada to commit to lowering it to something more reasonable, but Casada refuses:

“What he does is invaluable.. it’s a very high stress job. The better people are paid well. When you do that you don’t get someone who’s top-notch.”

Let’s remember that Cothren was working for Casada for $60,000 just last year. And “Better People” don’t use the N Word and say “black people are idiots”.

District Attorney Funk, if you’re listening, please investigate the actions of the Speaker’s office. Tennessee deserves to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he isn’t harboring racists who are willing to falsify evidence to have a man thrown in jail. And they need to hear it from someone other than his own I.T. department.

If you think Cade Cothren needs to be fired, holler at Speaker Casada here: Speaker.Glen.Casada@Capitol.TN.Gov

If you think District Attorney Funk needs to investigate all of the above, holler at him here: GlennFunk@jisnashville.org

 

VIDEO: ARMING TEACHERS BILL HIGHLIGHTS (Heads to House & Senate Committees Wednesday)

Last week HB 1380 – a bill from Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) to allow teachers to arm themselves in Tennessee’s schools – passed out of the K-12 subcommittee, despite every single witness who testified making a case in opposition, including a teacher, a student, a former teacher, and 3 representatives from law enforcement.

Watch the Highlights:

The Senate version is SB1399 by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville).

The two measures are scheduled to be heard on the same day this week: Wednesday, April 10th.

The bill, as amended, allows the carrying of loaded, concealed weapons by school employees with permits. The names of the employees would be kept confidential, though it appears neither the school nor the state would be held liable for any of the employee’s actions in relation to a shooting incident.

Law enforcement witnesses included Brink Fidler, a former Metro Nashville plainclothes officer, Sheriff John Fuson of Montgomery County, representing the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, and Colonel Dereck Stewart of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

They all were concerned about training and allowing teachers to teach and law enforcement to handle those duties.Sheriff Fuson also pointed out the issue of responding officers differentiating between well-intentioned  school employees and an active shooter.

House Education Committee chair Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) said he talked to authorities at a Kentucky school in the aftermath of a shooting there, who said arming teachers “would’ve been the worst thing they could to.”

Rep. Williams responded that Parkland’s authorities thought differently.

Rep. Iris Rudder (R-Winchester) felt it was a “discussion worth having” and helped it pass to full committee, while Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) asked why Tennessee wouldn’t pay for School Resource Officers everywhere with the $1 Billion surplus.

The bill is before the house and senate committees Wednesday. Holler at your reps.

“Small Government” TN House GOP Overrules Police Oversight Board Authority

Debate moves to the full Tennessee Senate

A proposal to eliminate subpoena power from police community oversights boards passed the Tennessee House on a 66-26 vote, with 65 Republicans voting in favor plus one Democrat: Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

4 Republicans voted against: Rep. Martin Daniel (Knoxville), Rep. Bill Dunn (Knoxville), Rep. Jeremy Faison (Cosby), and Rep. Justin Lafferty (Knoxville).

Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis), who has previously supported School Vouchers and voted in favor of the Heartbeat Bill, was marked “Present but not voting”.

A police community oversight board has operated — with subpoena power — in Knoxville, Tenn. for two decades with no interference from the state legislature. State lawmakers only seem to take notice when Nashville voters approved a ballot initiative to create a new community oversight board in November.

The legislation, HB0658/SB1407, falls into a trend where the majority party in the state – which fancies itself “small government” when convenient – strips power away from local governments by changing or blocking city decisions through new state law.

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50, took issue with state lawmakers changing the rules after local governments and voters took action.

“Overturning elections just because you don’t like the results is not what this body is meant to do,” Mitchell said.

Here’s our previous article on this issue. Call your senators if you agree non-Nashville legislators shouldn’t be overriding something Nashville voted overwhelmingly in favor of.

How they voted: Full House of Representatives, March 14;
Representatives voting in support of bill:
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, District 37
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, District 71
Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, District 32
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, District 63
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, District 64
Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, District 23
Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, District 1
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Ron Gant, R-Rossville, District 94
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, District 24
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, R-Signal Mountain, District 27
Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, District 30
Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, District 9
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, District 7
Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, District 3
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Halls, District 82
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, District 66
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, District 99
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, District 57
Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, District 62
Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, District 81
Rep. Jerome Moon, R-Maryville, District 8
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, District 36
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, District 74
Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, District 21
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, District 25
Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, District 35
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, District 26
Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, District 49
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, District 48
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, District 31
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, District 95
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83
Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, District 65
Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, District 42
Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, District 19
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis, District 85
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55
Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, District 86
Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, District 54
Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56
Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, District 28
Rep. G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 93
Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, District 67
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13
Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, District 91
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, District 88
Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, District 52
Rep. Dwayne Thompson, D-Cordova, District 96
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84

Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, District 16
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89

Present Not Voting:
Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, District 90

Absent or Missed Vote:
Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, District 12
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, District 60
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20

GOP Leader Ashe to Legislature: Leave Oversight Boards Alone

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Longtime Tennessee Republican leader Victor Ashe, former Mayor of Knoxville and former Ambassador to Poland under President George W. Bush, praised the work of Knoxville’s police oversight board and took a shot at the GOP-led legislature for attempts to weaken Nashville’s new oversight board.

“By a broad consensus, PARC (Police Advisory Review Council) has worked well in Knoxville and has stood the test of time. It has gone a long way to establish credibility and objectivity in disputes involving the Police Department,” wrote Ashe. “It is unfortunate that legislation to weaken it is pending, when it has been a credit to Knoxville.

Ashe wrote the comments Feb. 18 in a column for the Knoxville Shopper News, which is part of Gannett-owned daily Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Nashville voters overwhelmingly voted to support creation of a Citizens Oversight Board (COB) in the November election, but Rep. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) has filed a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly to take subpoena power from the COB, legislation Governor Bill Lee has expressed support for. Curcio says his bill, co-sponsored by House heavyweights including Speaker Glen Casada and Majority Leader William Lamberth, has nothing to do with Nashville.

Ashe created PARC by executive order in 1998 and Knoxville City Council later ratified the commission. He pointed out every police chief has supported PARC since it was created.

Knoxville City Council approved a resolution Feb. opposing Curcio’s bill, as it would also strip subpoena power from PARC.

Ashe was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1968 and served through 1974. He was a state senator from Knoxville 1975-1984 and was elected Knoxville mayor in 1987 and served for 16 years.

VIDEO: Kanew Confronts Casada About Promoting Admitted Sex Offender Rep. Byrd

In a 2018 report, 3 women publicly alleged Tennessee State Representative David Byrd (Wayne, Lewis, Hardin, Lawrence counties) had sexually molested them when he was their women’s basketball coach at Wayne County High School.

The report included a recording of Byrd apologizing for it, expressing remorse, and saying he had been praying for forgiveness for it every Sunday.

Most reacted with disgust. Even members of Byrd’s own Republican party, including now-Senator Marsha Blackburn and then-Speaker Beth Harwell. Harwell even asked Byrd to step down.

Byrd refused. He ran for office again in 2018, and won in a landslide with 78% of the vote.

Newly-elected Speaker Glen Casada then promptly promoted him to chair of an Education Subcommittee, of all things.

You truly cannot make this stuff up.

Since Casada’s decision, very little has been made of Byrd’s continued presence in the legislature. A group called “Enough is Enough” has done all they can, showing up at big events like Governor Lee’s swearing in to remind Lee and Casada they’re watching, and supporting one of the victims – Christi Rice – at the Women’s March. But fellow legislators have been silent, and the media has stopped covering the matter.

Nobody has pinned Casada down for his decision – until now.

Recently, former congressional candidate Justin Kanew went to a town hall in Franklin where Speaker Casada was appearing with other members of the Williamson County delegation, and confronted Casada about his decision not only to ignore Byrd’s transgressions, but to run attack ads against the victims and elevate Byrd to chair of an education subcommittee.

Here’s the 6 minute video:

In the video Casada makes it clear he doesn’t believe Byrd did it despite his obvious admission of guilt, and even goes so far as to say if HE had been raped he would’ve come forward long before now.

As if he can possibly know what it would be like to be a young teenage girl in Wayne County who is being sexually molested by her basketball coach.

The entire situation is appalling. If you agree, please SHARE this video on FACEBOOK and TWITTER, and holler at Casada and especially Byrd and tell them you want this admitted sex offender removed from our legislature.

VIDEO: “HANDS OFF OUR C.O.B!” – Nashville Protests Gov. Lee-Supported Bill to Undercut Police Oversight Board

In November, after a lot of hard organizing work, the people of Nashville voted to approve a referendum that would give them a Community Oversight Board to hold Nashville’s police accountable.

Read more

Republicans Introduce Bill to Undercut Nashville’s Community Oversight Board

In November, Davidson County residents overwhelmingly voted to create a community oversight board to look at alleged police misconduct. Speaker of the TN House Glen Casada immediately threatened to render the board virtually powerless, and now Chairman of the House Judiciary committee Rep. Michael Curcio and the Republicans have introduced a bill to do just that.

The Bill – HB 658 – would not allow the community oversight board to issue subpoenas for documents or compel witness testimonies. Without that power, the board will have little authority to “oversee” much of anything.

Michael Curcio and the Republicans are claiming these are “balanced guidelines” for the board, but Community Oversight Now, the group who successfully pushed for the board, disagrees – and is now reaching out to athletes and encouraging them not to come to Tennessee, launching a new campaign called “Don’t Play Where You’re Not Welcome.”

Community Oversight Now’s statement:

“We are calling on Tennessee lawmakers to vote NO on HB 658. We are calling on the Governor, Lt. Governor, Senator leadership, and people of good will to reject this discriminatory legislation. Additionally, we are exploring all legal options to prevent state preemption.”

Mayoral candidate John Ray Clemmons, currently a state rep, also spoke out unequivocally on twitter about the move, saying:

Clemmons also added:

Funny how the “small government” guys always seem to want government to step in and get a lot bigger when something happens they don’t like. Casada, Curcio, and the Republicans claim they want to protect both police and citizens with this bill, but what they should really be concerned about protecting is the truth and justice. If you take care of those, the rest will take care of itself.

This bill is not a step in that direction. If anything, it’s an impediment.

Holler at Speaker Casada and Rep. Curcio and let them know if you agree with Community Oversight Now that the people of Nashville have spoken, and these non-Nashville representatives need to stay out of the way.

LAMBERTH: “Private Prisons Good, No De-Criminalizing Marijuana”

In an interview with The Tennessean’s “Grand Divisions” podcast about Criminal Justice reform, Tennessee Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth was asked about the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee, and gave some head-scratching answers.

First he was asked about Private Prisons, and whether or not they’re a good thing for Tennessee. He made it very clear he believes they are, and that the widely-discussed issues lie with state lawmakers and the policies they set.

“Private prisons are not the problem. The problem needs to be solved in the legislature.”

What conveniently didn’t come up is Lamberth’s $2500 contribution from Core Civic this past cycle.

The Tennessean then went on to ask Lamberth whether or not he supported decriminalizing marijuana, which overwhelmingly affects the African-American community, after waxing poetic about “personal accountability” the House Majority Leader dropped this gem:

“Legalizing certain drugs is a really dangerous road to go down. If you just start legalizing behavior, we have states that have legalized prostitution, certain drugs… you can’t legalize your way out of a criminal issues.”

“You can’t legalize your way out of criminal issues.” There’s one to chew on.

As a reminder, drinking alcohol was once illegal in Tennessee. (Also, the sale of it still is in 10 counties)- But Lamberth gets donations from the Malt Beverage Association, so they’re probably safe.

Holler at Lamberth HERE.