Political notebook: Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County law firm responds to Rep. Larry Pittman

Published 9:24 pm Sunday, June 21, 2020

Davis Wright Tremaine, the law firm that represents Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, responded last week in a news release to an “ugly Facebook post” from N.C. Rep. Larry Pittman, a Republican from Concord.

Pittman, in a rant posted on Facebook on June 16, called protesters “domestic terrorists and vermin” who are bent on destroying the country. He referred to a portion of Seattle called CHAZ, known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which is a six-block radius that has been taken over by protestors.

Pittman also said in the post that police officers had been giving in to pressure from protesters, or “criminals,” and that if he were police chief, he’d tell officers to “take back our city” and arrest “those domestic terrorists.”

Pittman also said people have a right to expect public leaders won’t surrender to “the lawless, godless mob.” He added that “these vermin” don’t care about George Floyd or any other individual except “their financial sponsor, George Soros.”

“They are bent on destroying our country and our way of life, and they will use any tragedy, any slogan, any excuse to convince clueless people that their radical injustice is justice,” Pittman’s post stated.

The Davis Wright Tremaine law firm called on Pittman to remove his inflammatory and false post, which the firm called “dangerous rhetoric” and “deadly violence against peaceful protests.”

The firm stated in its news release that, by Pittman suggesting that police shoot any protester that resists or attacks someone, he is “effectively calling for the outright murder of American citizens.” The firm added that Pittman’s remarks about protesters being “bent on destroying our country and our way of life” can lead others who harbor misguided or ill will toward Black Lives Matter in Seattle or peaceful protestors to take Pittman’s words as a call to shoot peaceful protesters.

The firm compared Pittman’s remarks to similar calls of violence from members of the Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s tweets, adding that “because of this rhetoric, one Black protester in Seattle was shot by a white man who attempted to drive through a crowd.”

“While much of the country has largely mobilized in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, you, on the other hand, have expressed a bloodlust toward people of color that should disgust every American,” the firm stated in a news release that it said was sent to Pittman, too.

Pittman represents the 83rd District in the N.C. House, which covers parts of Kannapolis, Landis and China Grove. He’s running for re-election and faces a challenge from Democrat Gail Young, but his district will no longer extend into Rowan County in 2021.


Gov. Cooper vetoes bill that would’ve reopened bars, gyms

Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed a bill that would’ve reopened both bars and gyms at reduced capacity.

Cooper said current COVID-19 numbers “are not going in the right direction.” Within the last week, the state has experienced steady increases in COVID-19 cases.

“I’d rather open schools than bars,” Cooper said during a press conference on Friday. “And we need to keep our focus on doing things to getting our numbers to such a position that we can open schools.”

The bill, which was a second attempt from legislators at reopening bars at reduced capacity, included the flexibility of the governor to reclose bars and fitness centers in the event of another COVID-19 spike.

Cooper is expected to announce within the week what will come next in the state’s phased reopening plan and whether that next phase will start June 26 as he’s said previously.


Mayor Alexander elected to North Carolina League of Municipalities board

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander has been elected as first vice president for the North Carolina League of Municipalities Board of Directors.

The league serves as a member-driven organization representing the interests of cities and towns in the state.

The duties of the board began with CityVision2020, which is the league’s annual conference. The conference was held virtually in two parts, with the first in late May when the board elections were announced as well as a three-day series that wrapped up on Thursday.


North Carolina organizations applaud U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA

A number of immigrant rights’ groups applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The groups include the ACLU of North Carolina, Adelante Coalition, CIMA, Comunidad Colectiva, El Pueblo, LatinxEd, Out Turn, Poder NC Action, Student Action with Farmworkers and Undocumented Filmmakers Collective.

“This is a win for all the DACA recipients who put their lives on the line for the safety of many,” said Stefania Arteaga, statewide immigrants’ rights organizer with the ACLU of North Carolina in a statement.“Today, we celebrate but know that the fight is not over. For nearly three years, DACA recipients have lived in legal limbo and now we’re calling on lawmakers to permanently protect all undocumented immigrants and for North Carolina to do more.”

The coalition of organizations is also calling on lawmakers to support the Black Lives Matter demands to divest from the police and reinvest in housing, education, economic support, climate justice, healthcare and mental health services.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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