Incident Prompts New Legislation to Protect Officials

Former 74th North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory being chased and taunted in D.C could lead to stronger legislation help protect public officials. 

    

Just one day following the Women’s March on D.C, crowds still lingered as tensions were high in the Nation’s capitol. Former Gov. Pat McCrory was spotted in D.C walking down the street with television personality Lou Dobbs. 

    

They were approached by people on the street who began to chant “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at Dobbs and McCrory.

    

The video of the incident was taken by a man named Udai Basavaraj.

McCrory and Dobbs tried to avoid the crowd, and were followed down an alleyway where they were escorted inside of a building. McCrory and Dobbs were finally admitted into the building and the police dispersed the crowd. 

    

The incident led some NC legislators to call for a bill to make it illegal to harass a public official. Sen. Dan Bishop from Charlotte said he’d propose legislation to protect public officials “because lines are being crossed.”

    

Sen. Bishop is one of the main sponsors of North Carolina’s House Bill 2.   

    

The legislation would “make it a crime to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or in account of, the performance of his or duties,” said Bishop. 

    

Bishop also said that individuals who break this law will serve an prison sentence of at least five years.

    

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina issued a statement with opinions that differ vastly from Sen. Bishop’s.

    

“People’s rights to criticize politicians - whether in newspaper, at a meeting, or on a public street - is the very heart of what the First Amendment protects,” policy director Sarah Gillooly said in an statement to the proposed legislation. 

    

“Any attempt to criminalize peaceful political speech would violate the Constitution and our country’s proud tradition of free speech for all,” she added.

    

Gillooly, who is in charge of policy and legislation for the ACLU, has been instrumental in the union’s efforts to preserve citizens’ rights.   she was active in a recent initiative to inform drivers about their rights around police.

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