Cousins!!! Tennessee lawmaker Paul Sherrell made headlines this week as he proposed officials to bring back “Hanging by a tree” as a form of capital punishment!
“I was just wondering, could I put an amendment on that, that would include hanging by a tree, also,” asked Paul during a recent House Criminal Justice Committee meeting.
As you can imagine the term was met with many raised eye brows and complete outrage on social media as the execution style term is widely associated with lynching.
According to Nashville’s news 5 Rep. Sherrell’s proposal was made in regard to a bill that would reinstate the firing squad as an execution option in Tennessee.
Civil Right’s attorney Benjamin Crump tweeted,“This is UNREAL! Republican Rep. Paul Sherrell proposed Tennessee amend their death penalty to include HANGING by tree during a House criminal justice committee meeting! How in 2023 can a government official have such a grotesque suggestion leave his mouth?!”
Following Paul’s alarming proposal he was questioned outside of the House meeting by a man recording a video as he asked him “You know lynching’s a hate crime, right? You wanna bring back lynching people? How racist are you exactly, Paul? Just like one to 10, one to 10, how racist are you?”
Paul can be seen within the video not responding to the man recording and questioning him, however he did continue to laugh and smile.
Following immediate backlash and outrage from social media users a representative of Paul issued a statement on his behalf to news outlets in form of an apology. “I’d like to say that I regret that I used some very poor judgment in voicing my support for a colleague’s bill in Criminal Justice committee.”
The statement continued, “My aggressive comments were unintended to convey my belief that for the cruelest and most horrendous crimes, a just society requires the death penalty in kind,” said Sherrell, reading from a piece of paper. “I sincerely apologize to anyone whom may I have hurt or offended. Thank you.”
Member’s of the Tennessee Black Caucus group were left unmoved by Rep. apology and proposed he be removed from the committee.
Didn’t smack of sincerity; doesn’t seem to be enough,” said Chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus Chairman and Rep. Sam McKenzie, “I’m begging, come on, the GOP needs to come out and call this what it is.”
“He needs to be removed from all of his committees immediately,” said Sen. London Lamar, a Democrat from Memphis.
“I think that Representative Sherrell ought to resign,” said Rep. Johnny Shaw, a Democrat from Bolivar.