UPDATE! This is the story Rush Limbaugh was talking about Tuesday. You can listen to the actual audio below. The Boston Herald column is here.
The New England Area Chapter of the NAACP released a letter this morning urging the Massachusetts House of Representatives not to vote to expel convicted woman-beater Rep. Carlos Henriquez. Henriquez is currently serving simultaneously in the State House and the “slammer” up in Billerica. (Or rather was. The House voted 146-5 to expel him.)
I asked the NEAC President, Juan Cofield, who signed the letter, to join me on my radio show today and discuss it. You can listen to the entire conversation here:
Mr. Cofield strongly made the point both in his letter and during our interview that Henriquez was only convicted of a “misdemeanor.”
COFIELD: “He was convicted of two misdemeanors—not felonies—misdemeanors. And there is no standard in the House for expulsion based on misdemeanor convictions. Almost every one of us… commit a misdemeanor. Jaywalking is a misdemeanor. Would you have a state representative legislator expelled from the House for jaywalking?”
GRAHAM: “You make an excellent point. My question to you is would you really compare jaywalking to beating a woman because she denied you sex, the crime for which Rep. Henriquez was convicted?”
COFIELD: “It’s a misdemeanor.”
GRAHAM: It’s misdemeanor beating the crap out of a woman…He assaulted a woman, was convicted on both counts . Sdo we really want to compare that to jaywalking? Is that the NAACP’s position on assaulting females?
COFIELD: The NAACP’s position is there is no standard currently in teh House for expelling a rep for conviction of a misdemeanor.
Later I asked him what the NAACP wanted Rep. Heniquez to do in this difficult situation.
GRAHAM: If Rep. Henriquez contacted you and asked you ‘what should I do? Should I stay and represent my district while I exhaust my appeals or should I resign?’, what would you tell him?
COFIELD: I would suggest he take a survey of his constituents.
I suggested to Mr. Cofield that his answer would be viewed as problematic, given that Gov. Patrick and many others were calling on Henriquez to resign due to the nature of his crime….but the NAACP isn’t.
Mr. Cofield was content with his answer. Listen to the conversation and see for yourself.