Republican North Carolina senator Dan Bishop plans to introduce legislation that would limit protest of public officials following an incident where former governor Pat McCrory was chased down an alley by protesters who called him an “anti-gay bigot,” a story we broke on Saturday.
The measure 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,” reported the Charlotte Observer.
Bishop said the bill was a response to a protest video where the former governor was walking with conservative pundit Lou Dobbs in Washington, D.C. Protestors can be heard shouting “shame on you” and “anti-gay bigot.” The video was posted to Facebook.
Former governor McCrory was in the national spotlight when he signed House Bill 2, which required people to only use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates and banned local anti-discrimination ordinances for LGBT people.
Bishop also called on North Carolina “to take other appropriate steps to guarantee the personal safety of Gov. McCrory by all necessary means.”
ACLU state policy director Sarah Gillooly stressed the First Amendment right to protest: “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. 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.”
The video was posted by Facebook user Udai Basavaraj on Friday about 4 p.m., four hours after President Trump’s inauguration, and is tagged at the Capital Hilton in Washington.