It may be that we can finally identify the type of criminal conviction which might cause the New England conference of the National Associations for the Advancement of Colored People to call for the removal of a state legislator.
Based on a conversation Boston Herald columnist and radio talk host Michael Graham had with the group's president, it appears that some form of felony conviction might do the trick. By contrast, a misdemeanor — apparently regardless of the nature of that misdemeanor — would not. The "if a Republican said something similar, all hell would break loose" observation will become obvious once readers see what former Massachusetts State Rep. Carlos Henriquez stands convicted of doing (HT to James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web; bolds are mine throughout this post):
... State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was expelled from the House by an overwhelming vote of 146-5.
A move to censure Henriquez rather than expel him was rejected by a similar margin.
But yesterday morning before the vote, the New England Area Conference of the NAACP released a letter urging the House not to expel the convicted lawmaker.
... I called Juan Cofield, president of the New England conference, and asked him on Boston Herald Radio yesterday: Why shouldn’t the Massachusetts House expel Henriquez?
“He was convicted of two misdemeanors — not felonies—misdemeanors,” Cofield said. “Almost every day people commit misdemeanors. Jaywalking is a misdemeanor. Would you have a member expelled from the House for jaywalking?”
“Would you really compare jaywalking to beating a woman who denied you sex?” I asked.
“It’s a misdemeanor,” Cofield replied.
... when defenders of Henriquez argue that the crime itself doesn’t warrant expulsion, they completely lose me.
Here is the full police report relating to the misdemeanor which Mr. Cofield believes should not have resulted in Henriquez's expulsion found at RedMassGroup:
About 4:24AM on Sunday, July 08, 2012, Officer Kamel assigned to D448A unit responded to a radio call from North Eastern Police for a female held against her will at 21 Forsyth St, Boston. Officer McCarthy who was assigned to the D43PA unit also responded for assistance. Upon arrival Officer Kamel spoke with the victim (Gonzalves) who was being evaluated by EMT Beckett and EMT Anderson in Ambulance A2. Ms. Gonzalves who appeared to be agitated and crying at the time informed Officer Kamel that the suspect (Henriquez) had picked her up at about 2:00am that morning from her mother's home which is located at REDACTED, Arlington MA.
Ms. Gonzalves stated that the suspect (Henriquez) told her that he wanted to talk about their friendship. Ms. Gonzalves also informed Officer Kamel that the suspect (Henriquez) who was operating a grey Zip Car possibly a Toyota had kept Ms. Gonzalves against her will in the Zip Car while driving around in downtown Boston, Starbow Drive and the freeway refusing to stop. Ms. Gonzalves continued and stated that Mr. Henriquez had yelled at her in previous incidences. Ms. Gonzalves further stated that Mr. Henriquez had punched her with a closed fist repeatedly and strangled her while she was in the motor vehicle.
Ms. Gonzalves stated that every time she attempted to jump out of the car the suspect (Henriquez) grabbed her wrists to prevent her from jumping out of the motor vehicle. Ms. Gonzalves also stated that she had to jump out from the moving motor vehicle and ran to a building where she spoke with North Eastern Police Sgt. Boyd locate at about 21 Forsyth St. Soon responding Boston Police Officers did observe scuffs on Ms. Gonzalves right shin and multiple bruises on her arms and wrists. Ms. Gonzalves refused further medical attention at the time. Gonzalves realized that she left her right sandal behind as she jumped out of the MV.
Gonzalves was noticeably upset and shaken up.
Officer McCarthy transported the victim (Gonzalves) to her home located at [redacted] in Somerville, Ma based on her wishes.
About 6:26AM, Officer Kamel did call the victim via district D Phone. Ms. Gonzalves was more open and stated to Officer Kamel that she and the suspect had an intimate relationship about a month ago. Ms. Gonzalves further stated that they were friends at the time that he picked her up. Ms. Gonzalves further stated that she had to go back home because her mother had called her. Ms. Gonzalves further stated that the suspect (Henriquez) got angry with her and told her, "I came here all the way for that?" Ms. Gonzalves further informed Officer Kamel that when she was in his motor vehicle she had repeadely asked him to stop the car but he wouldn't. Ms. Gonzalves also stated that the suspect (Henriquez) took her phone from her and took the sim card and memory card from it. Ms. Gonzalves further stated that when she ran to the building and spoke with North Eastern Police she was under the impression that her phone does not work.
The D102A Officers Griffin and Burwell responded to the suspect's residence and placed him under arrest for Kidnapping, two counts of Assault and battery 209A, intimidation of a witness and larceny from a person.
Post Miranda warning Officer McCarthy asked Henriquez if he wished to answer any questions or to explain his side of the story and he refused to do so.
In its coverage of Henriquez's expulsion the day it occurred, the Boston Globe reported that he was "convicted on two counts of misdemeanor assault."
Based on the police report's contents, he arguably got off easy.
Massachusetts talk host Peter Ingemi, who blogs as Da Tech Guy, pointed out the obvious on Friday:
I know I’m just a blogger & radio talk show host, but it seems to me that the NAACP actively working to make sure a democrat convicted of assaulting a woman who refused him sex is something that would not only be Immediately be recognized as Newsworthy, but given the “War on Women” meme would elevate this to a national story.
It would be, if a Republican or conservative organization's president said something even one-tenth as offensive what Cofield said.
Henriquez, who is already serving time, may be released from jail this summer. Local TV station CBS Boston notes that it's "entirely possible" he could try to regain his former office in the fall.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.