After initially fighting his extradition, a New Jersey blogger who asked his readers to “take up arms” against two lawmakers and a state official, turned himself into Capitol Police Thursday afternoon.
Harold ‘Hal’ Turner, 47, of North Bergen, New Jersey was released on a $25,000 bond and is expected to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Monday, June 22.
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The bill in question has long since been withdrawn, but the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport filed a federal lawsuit against the state for asking it to register as a lobbyist.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 last 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.”
Turner’s blog also details his perspective of his trip to Hartford Thursday. The Associated Press disputes Turner’s account of his surrender Thursday and reports that there was no security perimeter set up around the Capitol and no crowds.
Turner is charged with inciting injury to persons or property.