“Just Eliminate the Threat.” Rep. Higgins Rebuked After Calls for Violence Against Protesters

On Tuesday, September 1, Facebook removed two posts by U.S. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) after threatening to shoot people protesting the police. 

Buzzfeed reported that Facebook removed his posts for violating the company’s violence and incitement policies after making comments like “I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand,” “we just eliminate the threat,” and “How fast? 1,450 FPS fast” (referencing the speed at which many bullets travel.” 

Rep. Higgins’s first Facebook post calling for violence against protesters. Courtesy of Rob Anderson for Louisiana.

Rep. Higgins made these threats after the rumor that a Black militia group – the “Not Fucking Around Coalition” or NFAC – would appear in Lafayette to protest the police killing of Trayford Pellerin. Ultimately the NFAC did not appear. 

In his post, he included a picture of unarmed protesters making the Black Power symbol and a picture of armed militia protesters – none of which were depicted as acting violently. According to Business Insider, Rep. Higgins has made open appearances to armed right wing militia groups, including the Oath Keepers, which has been classified as a hate group. 

Rep. Higgins called for opening fire on protesters. “This is where your journey will end. Fast. How fast? 1,450 FPS fast.” 

After Facebook removed this post for inciting violence, Rep. Higgins made a second post, which was also taken down. In his second post, he informed everyone that he had not taken down his post and that America was “being manipulated into a new era of government control.” 

He also made another call for violence. “Welcome to the front lines, Ladies and Gentlemen. I suggest you get your mind right. I’ll advise when it’s time [to] gear up, mount up, and roll out.” 

The second post written by Rep. Clay Higgins, which was also taken down for incitement. Courtesy of Rob Anderson for Louisiana.

In response, Rob Anderson, who is running against Rep. Higgins for Congress, strongly condemned Higgins’s actions. 

Clay Higgins obviously never learned what it means to be a real man,” Anderson said on Facebook. “That it means restraint in the face of incitement. Measured words over hyperbole. Real effort instead of the laziness of popping off some Facebook post.”

Anderson also pointed to the Congressman’s history of inflammatory remarks. 

It’s not like Congressman Higgins has not said stuff like this before,” he wrote. “His dismissal from the St. Landry Sheriff’s department in 2016 was a direct result of similar threats against a group of young Black teenagers whom he called ‘animals’ to be ‘hunted.’ That after these comments Mr. Higgins got scared and asked for more body armor, and to take the markings off his truck, belies his tough talk and posturing.”

Rep. Higgins was forced to resign from the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department after he refused St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz’s requests to tone down his language. 

Clay Higgins is a former car salesman. While working as a Sheriff’s deputy, he “repeatedly broke sheriff’s department rules, using his job in law enforcement to launch a series of lucrative schemes” according to the Independent. Once he began going viral in 2015 for his infamous CrimeStoppers videos, he used his government email account to “exploit[] his position in the sheriff’s department to sell T-shirts and mugs, negotiate paid talk show appearances, paid speeches, paid advertisements and even a reality television show.” 

This, according to Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, is the real reason behind his resignation from the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department. “Clay Higgins formed a personal business venture to raise money by selling mugs, t-shirts, and other trinkets using department badge and uniform. All of which are against department policy,” Guidroz told The Independent. “I reined Higgins in.”

This is not the end of Rep. Higgins’s controversies. In his 2016 bid for Congress, news broke that Higgins was over $100,000 in arrears for child support to an ex wife. His ex wife also released tape recordings wherein he said that winning his Congressional election would help him make child support obligations.

In 2017, Higgins was forced to apologize after video recording his trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, to make an argument for a stronger U.S. military. The Auschwitz Memorial replied on Twitter that the “building should not be used as a stage.” 

For Mr. Anderson, his hope is that this will bring out the best in his part of Louisiana. 

“It is my hope that Mr. Higgins’ words will be roundly rebuked and condemned by members of both parties.” he wrote. “Hopefully this can be the beginning for freedom loving Americans from all walks of life to come together in the endearing mission to create a more perfect union.”

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