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Nearly 200 attorneys call for investigation into Coffee County DA

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Posted at 1:10 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 14:18:15-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Nearly 200 Tennessee attorneys have called for an investigation into Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott after he suggested gay people are not entitled to domestic violence protections.

In a video obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, Northcott says if gay people in his district end up being victims of domestic violence, they should not expect him to use the state's domestic violence laws to protect them.

Nashville attorneys Sunny Eaton and Kevin Teets, both of whom are openly gay, have called for his immediate resignation or -- if he refuses -- be removed from office. They said they've "never encountered a policy of blatant discrimination towards LGBTQ individuals like the policy announced by Gen. Northcott in Coffee County."

“I was absolutely shocked and enraged,” said Eaton. “Anyone who believes that LGBTQ individuals in abusive and violent relationships should be turned down by the law enforcement office charged with protecting them and pursuing justice on their behalf has no place in public office at all.”

Eaton drafted a letter calling on the Board of Professional Responsibility to investigate Northcott. More than 175 attorneys from across the state have asked to be co-signers on the letter.

Eaton and Teets also said in a release that they’re concerned about whether LGBTQ criminal defendants were treated differently or more harshly because of their sexual orientation.

Northcott 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.