Williamson County residents gathered on the Public Square in Franklin on Friday to call for Speaker Casada to resign from the legislature completely, immediately.
Williamson County residents gathered on the Public Square in Franklin on Friday to call for Speaker Casada to resign from the legislature completely, immediately.
Fiery speeches at the Heritage Dinner from Senate Candidate James Mackler, Rep. Mike Stewart, AJ Holmes, Chris Hale, Holler co-founder Justin Kanew, and historic Memphis Candidate Tami Sawyer!
We previously revealed that Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, special prosecutor on the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, made deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments, and continues to hold those views.
The Holler has now unearthed video in which Northcott says that despite a 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, he refuses to recognize it as the law of the land, won’t prosecute same-sex domestic assaults as “domestic” cases, and even encourages county clerks not to process same-sex marriages – saying he would use his “prosecutorial discretion” to make sure they aren’t charged.
One of the most explosive scandals in the scandal-tornado surrounding Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada – who has said he will be resigning his speakership possibly as soon as next week – has been the possibility that his office falsified the date on an email to frame civil rights activist Justin Jones, to show that Jones violated a no-contact order and have him thrown in jail.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk recused himself from that case, saying that because he was the recipient of the email in question he couldn’t be impartial.
The Casada-Jones case then went to the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference, which sent it to a “special prosecutor” – Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott.
Recently The Holler revealed deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments by Northcott in which he referred to the Islamic faith as “evil” and equated it with the KKK and the Aryan Nation, while also saying there are “no constitutional rights”, only rights bestowed upon us by the “One True God”.
As it turns out, Muslims may not be the only community who have reason for concern with Northcott.
We’ve just discovered the above video from March of 2018, at the Chafer Theological Seminary Pastor’s Conference, in which Northcott gives an hour-long speech about “The Local Church’s Role in Government”.
After his speech, Northcott is asked what a Christian county clerk who is against gay marriage should do when a same-sex couple shows up for a marriage license.
The questioner asks:
“Let’s say the federal government does something ridiculous like legalize gay marriage, and you’re a Christian county clerk working in a marriage license office… (joking) this is all hypothetical… and you refuse to follow the federal law, and the matter gets Brought to the district attorney. Whoever that might be. How as Christians do you think we should deal with all those situations?”
Northcott begins his answer by questioning the authority of the Supreme Court:
“5 people in black dresses rule us.”
He says that with the Obergefell V. Hodges ruling, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, and required all 50 states to perform and recognize the marriages on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, the Supreme Court was “legislating policy”:
“If you ever read their opinion, they don’t base it on the constitution, they don’t base it upon law, they don’t base it on anything… They start in the very first paragraph by saying ‘we think it is a better policy for homosexual marriage to be legitimized, therefore we’re gonna rule this way.”
Actually, Obergefell V. Hodges was based on both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In fact, the very first paragraph does talk about the constitution- in fact, the very first two words of Justice Kennedy’s opinion are “The Constitution”.
Northcott then goes on to address the *hypothetical* situation about the Christian clerk faced with a decision about whether or not to issue a same sex marriage license. He makes it clear he doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage as a prosecutor, and advises the clerk not to “succumb” either. :
“As to the clerk, it just boils down to are you gonna do what God says? Or are you gonna do what man says? And the clerk will probably lose their job either immediately or through election if they take a stand on God’s Truth. We are not saved from the consequences of standing on the truth… that would be my advice to the clerk: Don’t succumb.”
As to what a District Attorney like him would then do to the clerk, he points to “prosecutorial discretion” and the “unfettered” authority D.A.’s have as a way for him to avoid punishing Christian clerks:
“D.A.’s have what’s called prosecutorial discretion. Y’all need to know who your D.A. is – y’all give us a LOT of authority whether you know it or not… we can choose to prosecute anything, and we can choose not to prosecute anything, up to and including murder. It’s our choice, unfettered, so to deal with that you elect a good Christian man as D.A. and they’ll make sure that they at least don’t get prosecuted criminally.”
Northcott explains that the Supreme Court decision affected his profession in ways many people don’t realize, particularly concerning “domestic assault” charges, which carry heavier punishments than “simple assault” charges. Because treating assault charges between same-sex couples as “domestic assaults” would be to recognize same-sex marriage, Northcott says he does not, and accuses the Supreme Court of “social engineering”:
“So the social engineers on the Supreme Court decided that we now have homosexual marriage. I disagree with them. What do I do with domestic assaults?… The reason that there’s extra punishment on domestic assaults is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage. And I said there’s no marriage to protect. So I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”
He implies this isn’t the only way this view affects his work, saying “that is one of many decisions like that that you face (as a D.A.)”, and adds “you need someone who will do an evaluation on those terms in making those decisions” – which appears to mean voters should elect Christians who will similarly disobey Supreme Court rulings when they believe the rulings go against “God’s Truth”.
Northcott then finishes his answer by returning to the hypothetical clerk, saying not only would he not prosecute her, he’d embrace her:
“If your specific situation came to me I’d pat her on the back, give her a hug, and say ‘go at it.'”
The rest of Northcott’s speech about the role of the church in government makes it clear he doesn’t believe the “lie” about separation of church and state, and quite the contrary believes “government was created by God” and therefore church and state are inextricable:
He says only faithful Christians should hold public office as “ministers of God”, and that the role of the churches is to prepare those “faithful men” to hold those positions:
He also goes on to talk about the “Religious Test” which remains in the Tennessee constitution to this day, and in his eyes means that only Christians should serve in office in the state:
“The founders of the state of Tennessee recognized that only Christians could adequately understand and implement the purpose of all government offices. It’s still in our constitution.”
Article 9, section 2 of the Tennessee constitution does in fact say:
“No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”
But while “No person who denies the being of God” seems to rule out only atheists, Northcott insists the clause refers to “the God of the Gospel… the only One True God”… and hopes “one of those crazy groups that hates religion” doesn’t figure it out and sue to have the clause removed.
“If there are no faithful Christians, there’s no one out there to elect and to hold these offices.”
He also tacks on a few words for the media, who he says are in the “back pockets” of “unfaithful men”:
“When you get a faithful man into office and he takes principled stands, guess who’s gonna be upset? All those unfaithful men. Well guess who they’ve got in their back pocket? The media. All the most vocal enemies of Christ are in their back pocket. So what happens? The faithful man gets attacked from all sides. Everything is misconstrued, give you half the information… I don’t know if you realize this, but the media twists things and have an agenda they want to promote.”
He says if Christians step out of government, other “enemies” will fill in:
“Atheists, humanists, Muslims… If we step out, we turn it over to the Enemy.”
And adds at the end that churches should essentially tell their congregations who to vote for:
“Knowing who your political leaders are is a form of worship. If you are going to elect ministers of God, I think it’s up to the church to make sure those in their congregation are informed on that decision.”
The LGBT community doesn’t appear to be the only victims of Northcott’s “prosecutorial discretion”. In 2016 there was an incident in Coffee County in which police responded to a domestic dispute during which a woman named Cindy Lowe had been badly bruised and beaten, but Northcott appears to have used his “prosecutorial discretion” to drop the charges against Joseph Floied, seemingly because Floied is related to Adam Floied, assistant chief of the Manchester Police Department.
Here are some graphic pictures from the incident, posted by Lowe on Facebook:
And this is a Facebook post from Lowe after our previous article about Northcott’s Islamophobia:
It’s worth pointing out that in 2000, the Supreme Court of Tennessee had this to say about the role of “public prosecutors” and “prosecutorial discretion” in our judicial system, saying that it should be used “without discrimination or bias”:
Tenn. R. Sup.Ct. 8, EC 7-13.
In short, public prosecutors hold a unique office in our criminal justice system. Contrary to the State’s contention on appeal, prosecutors are expected to be impartial in the sense that they must seek the truth and not merely obtain convictions. They are also to be impartial in the sense that charging decisions should be based upon the evidence, without discrimination or bias for or against any groups or individuals. Yet, at the same time, they are expected to prosecute criminal offenses with zeal and vigor within the bounds of the law and professional conduct. See Berger, 295 U.S. at 88, 55 S.Ct. at 633.
As for the issue of same-sex marriage domestic violence, an American Bar report on the domestic violence “epidemic” in America tells us domestic violence is in fact a major issue in the LGBT community:
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people experience domestic and intimate partner violence and sexual violence at rates similar to or higher than heterosexual and/or cisgender people… studies confirm that significant numbers of transgender people are subjected to intimate partner violence… Unfortunately, in a number of jurisdictions people who are abused by a partner of the same legal sex are unable to access vital legal protections.”
Northcott was recently selected by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to be a member of the group’s legislative committee, which advises the Tennessee General Assembly regarding laws and issues concerning criminal justice and public safety. This is the second year Northcott has been asked to serve on the committee.
If you agree LGBT people should be afforded the same protections as everyone else in America, and that District Attorneys should not be disregarding Supreme Court rulings and taking the laws of the land entirely into their own hands while hiding behind “prosecutorial discretion”, Holler at District Attorney Northcutt HERE: 931-723-5057
And if you have concern about Northcott’s ability to handle his duties regarding the Jones-Casada case, or any other case, Holler at the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference to express them HERE: email@example.com
Lastly, and importantly, if you’re in Coffee County, and you believe Northcott may have mishandled your case, email us at TheTNHoller@gmail.com – we have some people you should talk to.
Danny Claud Hensley, a former Dixie Youth umpire and crossing guard at Lewis County Elementary School, entered no contest pleas to two counts of assault on May 22, 2019 in Hickman County Circuit Court, according to the Lewis County Herald.
Hensley recently testified at the state legislature to help pass the Leigh Ann Act – HB1340 by Rep. Clay Doggett (R-Lawrenceburg), SB1163 by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) – which creates a Class A misdemeanor for violating a no contact order issued to a domestic violence victim.
The bill is named for his daughter Leigh Ann Hensley, who was shot to death by a man in a domestic dispute. Hensley gave emotional testimony at the Judiciary committee, and held a picture of Leigh Ann as he spoke, saying:
“I had never taken domestic violence serious until it hit us.”
The indictment against Hensley states Grand Jurors for Lewis County presented that Hensley “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly, did cause physical contact with Coleen Kimbro, which a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative” (Victim’s name used with permission).
Hensley was sentenced to six months probation, and a no contact order was put in place regarding the victim and her parents.
Kimbro tells the Holler many of the legislators responsible for bringing Hensley in to testify, and for getting his bill passed, were made aware of the situation, including Speaker Glen Casada:
“Speaker of The House Glen Casada was informed about Danny Hensley being brought up on 5 counts of charges. Rep. Bruce Griffey, Senator Joey Hensley, Rep. Clay Doggett, Rep. David Byrd, Mark Hall and Chief of Police Sam Livingston all knew about Hensley being indicted and charged with 5 counts of assault, as well as the felony forgery charges, and still sponsored and endorsed not only the bill but Hensley as well. The Chief of Police, was his former employer and is his friend and Pastor.
Can You Say Good Ole Boy?”
“Victims are not out to destroy other people and their reputations, victims simply want to move forward and not have to live in fear.”
“Danny Hensley was sworn to protect and serve and instead he preyed on the most vulnerable. He knew I was already a victim of rape and domestic assault and used his position as a sitting board member at the Shelter and as an officer at the Hohenwald Police Department to abuse and assault me. Danny Hensley used his positions to threaten me with his friends in power. He kept me in fear and made me feel as though there was no way a victim could ever trust an officer or ever expect any justice. In Danny Hensley’s own words, ‘no woman should live in fear’, and yet I lived in fear daily because of Danny Hensley, who portrayed himself to be a protector of women while he was abusing me.I pray that Danny Hensley is never put in a position where he is able to harm another individual again, because the emotional damage they suffer is lifelong compared to the short sentence he will serve.”
“Victims see men in power portraying themselves as heroes while the men torment and prey on the most vulnerable and make them feel even more vulnerable and abused. Sadly, I begged for help before the bill was passed and no one cared. Now that the bill has passed they have given a predator immortality, and only victimized his victim more by refusing to act when I begged for help.”
Hensley also entered conditional pleas of guilty to 4 counts of forgery, for which he was sentenced to pay court costs and serve two years supervised probation. Four charges of misdemeanor theft were dismissed as part of the plea negotiations.
In April of 2018 he was released from umpire duties for Lewis County Dixie Youth Baseball and Softball by the board of directors via an official letter claiming Mr. Hensley had kept two different Lewis County Dixie Youth paychecks that belonged to at least two different umpires, forged the umpires signatures of endorsement on the back of the checks, and cashed them.
This morning in Franklin was the monthly Williamson County “Legislative Update”, hosted by Williamson Inc.
The event was called a “Town Hall” until recently, but the name was apparently changed after former State House candidate Rebecca Purington called them out for calling it a “Town Hall” without actually taking questions.
Fair point, Rebecca.
They stopped taking questions after Ashley Massey stood up and pinned Williamson legislators to the wall about their silence about Rep. David Byrd, who has apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who say he molested them in high school.
Byrd remains in office to this day, but how long he lasts remains to be seen since his chief protector Glen Casada will be resigning his speakership in shame in the coming days.
Casada was not at the “Legislative Update”, apparently getting some sun in Greece.
Casada’s pal Brandon Ogles also skipped the meeting, letting the organizers know at 530AM this morning that he had a sudden “rotator cuff ” injury. (mm hmmmm)
The only Williamson legislators to show up were Sam Whitson and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. Below are some clips of a few of the subjects they covered.
Whitson talked about the passage of the Katie Beckett Waiver, which keeps parents of disabled children from having to make impossible decision to keep their kids on insurance.
No word on why that logic shouldn’t apply to the 300,000 other Tennesseans faced with the very same decisions, who don’t have insurance because of the Republican refusal to expand Medicaid, which costs Tennessee billions of dollars each year.
After the meeting Senator Johnson answered our question about the “Heartbeat Bill”, which seeks to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, and makes no exceptions for rape or incest – which means a raped teenage girl would have to carry her rapist’s child to term.
The film industry has recently said they w0n’t do business in Georgia if their similar bill becomes law. When asked what Johnson would say to industries that may have the same issue with Tennessee were Tennessee’s bill to pass, his answer:
“Go back to California.”
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?
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.
First it was the Black Caucus calling for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the racist texts and possible falsification of evidence coming out of Speaker Casada’s office.
Watch the VIDEO:
Now today, in response to reports of Speaker Casada spying on Democrats in the legislature through a surveillance system, Democrats have called for the U.S. Attorneys office to look into that.
Watch the VIDEO:
Yesterday we posted a video from a Williamson County legislative update Friday in which Senator Jack Johnson aggressively defended Governor Bill Lee’s school vouchers plan which would allow public school money to be used to partially fund private school educations.
Supporters of the vouchers say they will help some kids in failing schools escape to a better education.
Opponents say we shouldn’t be steering public money away from already struggling public schools to do that, that it amounts to the privatization of education, and that the private schools in receipt of the money wouldn’t be subject to the same kind of accountability and would be able to discriminate against certain kids using public funds.
Senator Johnson seemed particularly upset by a resolution passed by a the Franklin Special School District school board here in Williamson County, which he called the “wealthiest and whitest county” in Tennessee:
“So when I hear a school board in Williamson County passes a resolution opposing this initiative… do you understand the optics of that? We’re the wealthiest, whitest county in the state. And we’re saying we don’t want to do something to help inner-city kids who are poor and predominantly minority. Shame on you. SHAME ON YOU.”
It’s worth pointing out that many school boards across the state have passed resolutions against it, including Shelby, Wilson County and Montgomery County – home of Clarksville, which has a significant minority population relative to other areas of Tennessee.
Shelby is majority African-American.
And while Johnson is right that Williamson County is the wealthiest, it is by no means the whitest – but more importantly, the Franklin Special School District board represents schools where 50% of the students are on reduced lunches, and where the school board itself is half African-American:
This begs the question: Senator Johnson mentioned the “optics” of a Williamson County school board standing against the concept of steering public money to private Schools, but what about the “optics” of the Senate Majority leader in an all-white Republican legislature yelling “SHAME ON YOU” at a half-black school board looking out for a district where 50% of the kids are on reduced lunches?
Seems like looking out for all kids, not just a few, is the job of a school board, so it should come as no surprise that these resolutions are being passed throughout the state.
As for the FSSD Board, it’s highly decorated. From their website:
The Franklin Special School District Board of Education is a six-time Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Board of Distinction and was 2015 Tennessee School Board of the Year. The Board was recognized by TSBA for its development, application and monitoring of policy; involvement in long-range planning; promotion of quality education through involvement with the legislature, city/county commission, State Board of Education, community and staff; participation in board development activities, including boardmanship award levels for each member; and exhibition of a positive relationship with the media.
As a Board of Distinction, a two-year designation, FSSD was honored by TSBA as a Board of Distinction for its work as a whole, meeting specified requirements in four key areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. The FSSD Board of Education was previously awarded TSBA School Board of the Yearin 1998, and accomplished the requirements necessary to become a Board of Distinction in 1999-2001, 2001-2003, 2007-2009, 2009-2011, 2014-2016, 2016-2018.
If you agree that Senator Jack Johnson was “inappropriate” with his comments, holler at him HERE.
Another one from the You-Couldn’t-Make-This-Up-If-You-Tried file…
HB 0283, a bill being carried by Rep. Littleton (R-Dickson) in the house and Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) in the senate, will be voted on in the house today.
The summary of the bill states:
“Criminal Offenses – As introduced, increases the punishment for a conviction of aggravated rape of a child from 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 13 and Title 40, Chapter 35.”
The bill is being co-sponsored by a long list of reps… including the one and only Rep. David Byrd, who as a reminder has apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who accuse him of molesting them when they were in high school, and who was removed from his education subcommittee chairmanship just last week.
The week prior Byrd’s son was forced out of his coaching spot in Jackson for “inappropriate communication” with a minor.
Let’s just say Rep. Byrd has some nerve coming anywhere near this bill. Feel free to holler at him HERE and let him know.
And feel free to holler at Speaker Casada and Governor Lee and let them know it’s time to call for Byrd’s resignation.