The top prosecutor in Coffee County, Tenn., a man charged with protecting the rights and enforcing the law on behalf of all the people in his jurisdiction, apparently has no intention of doing so when it comes to LGBTQ victims of domestic violence.
In video uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Nashville, Craig Northcott can be seen boasting to attendees at a Bible conference about his
homophobic decision not to prosecute domestic violence cases involving same-sex couples, and instead, just charge suspects with basic assault.
“Y’all need to know who your DA is,” he reminded the crowd during the 2018 conference, the Washington Post reports. “You give us a lot of authority. . . . We can choose to prosecute anything. We can choose not to prosecute anything.”
Beyond the obvious issue of a prosecutor not wanting to provide “equal protection under the law” to everyone, it’s also a big deal because in Tennessee, convictions for domestic violence crimes come with enhanced punishments.
But as far as Northcott was concerned, the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong in ruling gay marriage legal and so he saw no need to provide those in same-sex relationships the protections of domestic violence laws.
“The reason that there’s enhanced punishment on domestic violence is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage,” Northcott told the attendees, NewsChannel 5 reports. “And I said there’s no marriage to protect. So I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”
So, a prosecutor, the chief law enforcer, doesn’t agree with a law, so he’s just gonna ignore the law. Mmmkay.
And by the way, as NewsChannel 5 outlines, this incident isn’t Northcott’s first brush with bigoted behavior:
That’s the same DA who has suggested Muslims don’t have any constitutional rights.
The prosecutor, Craig Northcott of Coffee County, has faced intense scrutiny from activists ever since he was named special prosecutor three weeks ago to review whether House Speaker Glenn Casada’s office tried to set up an African American protester.
Activists were outraged, of course, and pointed out that the state’s domestic violence laws are not dependent on being married in any case. A person just needs to have been involved romantically with someone.
“He sounds like a crackpot, frankly, when he says that,” Chris Sanders, of the Tennessee Equality Project, said of Northcott.
“Northcott has an overall problem of applying his religious views to others,” agreed Robert McCaw of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Reached by phone by the Washington Post, Northcott was unrepentant:
“There’s no marriage to protect with homosexual relationships, so I don’t prosecute them as domestic.”
He refused to make further comment.