Casada’s office orders removal of women protesting Rep. Byrd

House Speaker Glen Casada’s office ordered troopers to remove six women holding signs protesting Rep. David Byrd’s chairmanship from a committee meeting.

The Associated Press reports the women sitting in the audience held signs at face-level reading “Enough is enough,” “Take a stand,” and “Protect constituents.” Three women have accused Bryd of sexual misconduct when they were teenage basketball players and he was their their 28-year-old high school basketball coach.

One of the women, Christi Rice, has since recorded a call to Byrd in which the lawmaker apologizes for unspecified transgressions. He has denied anything happened with other students.

“I wish I had a do-over because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would’ve never happened,” Byrd said in the recorded call. “But I hope you believe me when I say that it’s one of those things that I think about it all the time, and I always ask forgiveness for it and I hope you forgive me.”

Casada’s predecessor, Beth Harwell, had demanded Byrd’s resignation after the allegations were first aired by WSMV-TV last year. But Casada has deemed the allegations to be “fake news” and appointed Byrd chairman of an education subcommittee after he was overwhelmingly re-elected in November.

None of the protesters were charged after being removed from the room. During a recess, they had challenged lawmakers about whether they approve of Byrd being named chairman.

“The Bible says all standing fall short,” said Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station).

“So you’re admitting that he did it,” one person called out.

“I’m admitting that we all make mistakes,” Sexton said.

12 Responses to Casada’s office orders removal of women protesting Rep. Byrd

  • David Collins says:

    Fake News? If Byrd wasn’t guilty then why did he ask his accuser for forgiveness and say that the undefined incident and state, “I always ask forgiveness for it.” Fake news? Casada is quickly establishing himself every bit as stupid and dishonest as the present President.

  • Norma Shirk says:

    Those women were protesting peacefully and not disrupting the proceedings. There was absolutely no need to order them removed. What are Casada and the Republicans so afraid of that they have to stifle free speech and peaceful assembly? So much for democracy and the 1st Amendment freedoms.

  • Jud says:

    There’s a time and place for everything and inside a legislative committee meeting room certainly wasn’t the time or place. How many years ago was this and why just now come forward? If there was a statute of limitations on this type of allegation, people would be held accountable, both the accused and the accuser in a timely manner.

    • Cannoneer2 says:

      I understand what you are saying, but I think that it was definitely the proper place, to ensure that the matter isn’t conveniently forgotten or swept under the rug.

    • MarLE says:

      Jud….many states used to have a reasonable statute of limitations where a “victim” could come forward a certain number of years Beyond the age of majority which in some states meant 21, regardless of how many years had actually passed since the incident. But the child molestation cases against the Catholic Church, esp in the NE, caused state legislatures to completely eliminate any time limitation of sexual abuse cases. I have not researched the evolution of thinking by the TN legislature on this matter of statute limitation.

      • James White says:

        A U.S. Department of Education researcher estimated in 2004 that “physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

        • MarLE says:

          By Whom?

        • MarLE says:

          In every state in the NE where Catholicism is the dominate religion, the roll back of the statute of limitations was argued in legislatures as a way to make the church pay for victims reaching back decades. No one was presenting arguments based on school abuse ~ or at least none of transcripts I read for PA, DE, NJ or MA mentioned these. Then again those were the only 4 I followed.

  • This is a really interesting application of the rules allowing someone to be removed for disrupting legislative proceedings. It does show how far lawmakers think they can go in exercising discretion about what is a disruption since the verbal exchanges came during a recess and not during proceedings. Is the clarification that they were removed because of the signs they held? Taken too far, there could be free speech issues involved. Would the ladies have been allowed to stay if they didn’t bring in their signs? Just a thought.

  • La Quita V Martin says:

    Norma Shirk – Oh so true in that our freedom of speech is stifled. The women should have been given the option to stay and not show the signs rather than asked to leave.

    As for Jud, my mother was raped as a teenager by a family member. She told no one for decades until the rapist attacked again that rape came to light. My mother said she thought she was the only one. Turns out out there were others; they were too afraid like my mother to speak up. Don’t judge others till you know the all the facts.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I don’t know if this was disruptive, but David Byrd should be removed from all committees and should not be in the legislature. I believe the victims who have spoken up. I love Byrd’s district, but they have messed up by electing this man. They need to find someone better.

    That said, Casada was not treated fairly in the reporting of his “move” quote. When I first saw the video of it, I could tell he was talking about action in terms of not remaining silent if he were a victim. However, victims remain silent for good reasons. We see how they have been treated after speaking up.

    I know the Republicans want to respect the voters who chose this guy to represent them, but this Byrd doesn’t fly.

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