Krueger-Braneky calls on House Republicans to denounce GOP state representative’s violent rhetoric

SWARTHMORE, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, today denounced violent and derogatory threats made by state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Beaver, against protesters.

Commenting on an article about a protest against police-involved violence in St. Louis, Bernstine tweeted: “If anyone ever tries to stop my car on a highway with negative intentions… I will not stop under any conditions.”

Bernstine went on to refer to protesters as “thugs” and critics of his comments as “snowflakes.”

“The inflammatory comments by Representative Bernstine are outrageous and unacceptable,” Krueger-Braneky said. “No elected official should ever threaten violence, particularly against political protesters or those who do not agree with us. Being a state lawmaker is not just a privilege, but a responsibility – to ensure that the rights of all people are protected and that the constitution is upheld.

“Instead of respectfully agreeing to disagree with his critics, Aaron doubled down and dismissed them as ‘snowflakes.’ More concerning to me is that he referred to protesters as ‘thugs’ – a term that has been used to defame and oppress people of color for decades and across continents.

“As a fellow Christian, I pray that Aaron comes to the realization that state-sanctioned violence is unacceptable. There is no shame in admitting you were wrong and asking for forgiveness. In the meantime, I strongly urge the House Republican leadership to condemn in very clear terms their colleague’s remarks. Regardless of our party or politics, we should all be able to agree that threatening to run down protesters – just weeks after a young woman, Heather Heyer, was violently killed while protesting racism in Charlottesville – is absolutely unacceptable conduct for elected officials.”

Protesters had taken to the streets of St. Louis on Friday following the acquittal by a judge of a white police officer, Jason Stockley, who had been charged with murder and planting evidence after shooting and killing a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, in 2011. During a vehicular pursuit, Stockley was captured on tape saying, “We’re killing this mother---.” Stockley then shot Smith five times while he was stopped in his car, killing him.