A state lawmaker may have violated the law when he called on people to “loot and burn” houses with “Black Lives Matter” signs.
Sean Locke, director of the Civil Rights Unit at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, informed state Speaker Stephen Shurtleff on Thursday that Rep. James Spillane’s post is under investigation.
The unit is looking into “whether his conduct constituted a violation of the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act,” Locke wrote.
The investigation was triggered after multiple people sent complaints to the unit.
Writing on Facebook, Spillane, a Republican, said: “Public Service Announcement: if you see a BLM sign on a lawn it’s the same as having the porch light on for Halloween. You’re free to loot and burn that house.”
The post was later deleted.
Spillane didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Shurtleff, a Democrat, said Spillane’s post was an incitement of violence that “put the lives of Granite Staters in jeopardy.”
“It is inexcusable. Representative Spillane should resign his seat immediately,” he added.
Black Lives Matter Nashua took issue with Spillane’s post.
“Rep. Spillane’s racist call for violence against this movement is yet another example of what we mean when we say #NHIsNotInnocent,” the group said in a statement.
“We must commit to dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism in the Granite State.”
House Republican Leader Dick Hinch called Spillane’s words “inexcusable” but added: “I trust he meant no harm to anyone.”
“He deleted the post prior to news reports, which to me acknowledges he realized it was highly inappropriate.”
Rep. Jason Osborne, a Republican, joined Hinch in criticizing Shurtleff.
“I am old enough to remember agreeing with Representative Shurtleff when he cautioned against taking action upon his own caucus members who made violent social media comments or were convicted of violent crimes,” Osborne said in a statement.
Spillane has gotten into trouble before.
The representative was taken off the House Fish and Game Committee for a photograph of a squirrel he shared on social media.
Spillane pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in 2010. He was found not guilty after allegedly driving with an open container in 2018.