Capitol Police charged a New Jersey man Wednesday afternoon for using his blog to incite his readers to take up arms against two lawmakers and a state official.
Harold ‘Hal’ Turner, 47, was arrested and charged Wednesday by the North Bergen Police Department and will be arraigned Thursday for extradition to face charges in Connecticut.
According to police, Turner’s blog asked readers to take up arms against Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, and Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, for legislation which would have changed how the Roman Catholic Church is governed. It also asked readers to take up arms against an Office of State Ethics official for asking the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport to register as a lobbyist for a rally it held in opposition to the bill.
The bill in question has long since been withdrawn, but just last week the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport filed a federal lawsuit against the state for asking it to register as a lobbyist.
“Mr. Turner’s comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech,” Capitol Police Chief Michael Fallon said Wednesday. “He is inciting others through his website to commit acts of violence and has created fear and alarm. He should be held accountable for his conduct.”
According to Turner’s blog, he intended “to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die. If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they’re going to get uppity with us about this; I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down too.”
Capitol Police said they will work with New Jersey court officials and Office of the State’s Attorney to arrange for the extradition and transfer of Turner to Connecticut. At this time it is unknown when Turner will actually arrive in Connecticut to be officially charged.