North Carolina GOP lawmaker urges police to shoot protesters

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State Rep. Larry Pittman called protesters calling for an end to systemic racism 'thugs,' 'criminals,' and 'vermin.'

A Republican state lawmaker in North Carolina wrote a racist diatribe on Facebook in which he condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and demonized the protesters calling for an end to systemic racism, going as far as saying the protesters deserve to be shot by police.

In the post, State Rep. Larry Pittman said he is, "thoroughly disgusted by the gutless wonders in public office who are bowing down to Black Lives Matter."

He focused specifically on the Seattle mayor for not cracking down on protesters who have created a police-free protest zone after right-wing media has used doctored images to portray it as a violent uprising.

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"The mayor of Seattle has betrayed the citizens there by allowing the anti-American actions of those ignorant thugs to go unchallenged," Pittman wrote, adding that the police should take back the area from the protesters.

"If they resist and attack you, shoot them," Pittman wrote.

Pittman continued in his racist conspiracy-laden rant to say that the protests are backed by Jewish philanthropist George Soros, an accusation that is an anti-Semitic trope right-wing Republicans often go to when they attack progressive movements.

Soros is not funding the protests that have cropped up in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as he pleaded for air.

"These vermin don't care about George Floyd or any other individual, except maybe their financial sponsor, George Soros," Pittman wrote of the protesters. "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."

This is not the first time Pittman has launched into a racist rant.

In another Facebook post in 2017, Pittman equated former President Abraham Lincoln with Germany's Adolf Hitler, who led a genocide that killed 6 million Jews and countless others.

That comment came after Pittman introduced a bill directing the North Carolina government to ignore the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex marriage is legal.

According to the Charlotte News & Observer, when someone on Facebook commented that Pittman should "get over" the fact that same-sex marriage was legal, he replied, "And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it?"

"Lincoln was the same sort [of] tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional," Pittman added, in yet another racist comment believing that war fought over ending slavery was not needed.

Pittman — who lists his occupation as a pastor — represents a district located in the Charlotte suburbs.

He's held office since 2011 but faces reelection in 2020 in a redrawn district, after a court ordered North Carolina's district to be unfairly gerrymandered.

Pittman's Democratic opponent Gail Young excoriated his comments.

"This is just the latest in a long series of incendiary and divisive comments from Rep. Pittman, and I'm deeply disappointed that he would choose to incite violence in these already difficult times for so many families," Young said in a statement to the News & Observer. "I'll be a leader who seeks to bring us together and I'll work to make sure people in Cabarrus County feel safe and healthy."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.