Nessel calls for appropriate response to threats of violence

Dana Nessel_323013

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement after her office received more than 80 phone calls today regarding racially charged threats of violence that were made to state Rep. Cynthia Johnson, the representative’s reaction to that and whether the Department of Attorney General is investigating the matter.

“The threats Rep. Johnson has received are appalling, ugly and deeply disturbing, but her response to those messages is also unacceptable and I strongly condemn both. My office has received a number of calls and emails from residents about these incidents. I must remind people that if they have been threatened or if they fear for their safety, the appropriate thing to do is to call your local police department or 911, if it’s an emergency, so that law enforcement officers can respond. As Michiganders, and as Americans, we cannot allow hateful rhetoric from a few individuals to drag the masses down into a spiral of unjust actions. It is never acceptable for anyone – especially a public servant – to incite violence or to threaten others with harm. When vigilantes assume justice is theirs to serve, our democracy suffers. It’s time for us to move forward together as a state instead of engaging in – or celebrating – actions of hate and divisiveness.”

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig and leader-elect Donna Lasinski also called for Civility and an end to the divisive rhetoric and threats of violence.

“There is no doubt that this election cycle has been rife with hyperpartisan political rhetoric, theatrics and dangerous threats of violence toward elected and public officials and their loved ones which continue to escalate amid the most significant public health crisis in our state and country.

“As widely reported in the media, Representative Johnson has received numerous racist and heinous threats of violence — as have other Democratic and Republican elected officials — that have continued to place the safety of her and her loved ones in jeopardy. It is regrettable that her comments have led to the unintended consequence of adding further tension. It’s incumbent upon every elected official to be mindful of the impact of our words, especially in a moment of national tension and crisis.

“Our caucus has called on the Republican leadership and the present Legislature repeatedly to set aside hyperpartisan rhetoric, stop coddling conspiracy theories and condemn threats of violence. Even today, Speaker Chatfield’s decision to summarily remove Representative Johnson from her committee assignments in the final days of the 100thLegislature, and the overheated language of the statement issued by Speaker Chatfield and Speaker-elect Wentworth, illustrates that the Republicans prioritize partisan politics and political theater over healing the wounds of division, preserving the well-being of the Legislature as an institution, protecting the safety of Members, and acting on the needs of the people of Michigan.

“The perpetuation of meritless and disingenuous claims of election fraud — without the production of any evidence weeks after the general election — continues to fuel an increasingly dangerous and destructive political environment that needlessly removes focus on addressing the significant challenges of the pandemic as it continues to claim the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders across our state and throughout the political spectrum.

“There is no place for threats of violence or intimidation in our political discourse. We must end the divisive rhetoric, political theatrics and return civility in our political discourse so we may rightfully and immediately focus on our state’s response to the pandemic and help Michiganders who critically need our bipartisan leadership.

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