District Attorney Publicly Made Anti-LGBTQ and Islamophobic Comments

June 17, 2019

Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, (615) 320-7142

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The ACLU of Tennessee today sent a letter to the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference urging them to investigate District Attorney of the 14th Judicial District Craig Northcott regarding his comments about the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.

Recently released footage from a 2018 conference shows District Attorney Craig Northcott admitting that he does not prosecute domestic abuse between same-sex couples due to his religious beliefs. Northcott also made comments on Facebook expressing his hatred for Islam and those who follow it.

“District Attorney Northcott has essentially declared that he allows his personal religious beliefs to supersede the law he took an oath to uphold,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director. “His disturbing, prejudiced comments reveal his utter disrespect for the Constitution and its guarantee of equal protection under the law for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or religion. An investigation by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference is imperative to begin rebuilding public trust.”

In the letter, the ACLU of Tennessee writes, “District attorneys general are among the most powerful people in the criminal justice system in Tennessee … The equitable functioning of the criminal system relies on a district attorney general’s adherence to the laws of the land and their dedication to protect the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Mr. Northcott’s discriminatory statements leave little confidence that he will protect the rights of certain vulnerable individuals in our state.”

The ACLU of Tennessee urges the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to investigate whether Northcott has instituted discriminatory policies in his office or failed to adhere to Tennessee laws regarding charging decisions. ACLU-TN is also asking the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to cooperate with the Board of Professional Responsibility’s investigation and to denounce Northcott’s statements.

A copy of the letter can be found at: https://aclu-co.org/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019_06_17_NorthcottLetter.pdf.