Massachusetts state representative Carloz Henriquez was convicted last Wednesday of assaulting a woman who refused to have sex with him and was sentenced to six months in prison. Following his conviction, the president of the New England Area Chapter (NEAC) of the NAACP, Juan Cofield, jumped to Henriquez’s defense, comparing the assault on and beating of a woman to jaywalking.
“[Henriquez] was convicted of two misdemeanors — not felonies — misdemeanors, and there is no standard in the House for expulsion based on misdemeanor convictions” Cofield said on a radio show late last week. “Almost every one of us . . . commits a misdemeanor. Jaywalking is a misdemeanor. Would you have a state representative legislator expelled from the House for jaywalking?”
The radio host pushed back on Cofield’s comments, saying, “He assaulted a woman, he was convicted on both counts, do we really want to compare that to jaywalking?”
Cofield continued to defend Henriquez, saying there is no precedent for expelling a representative convicted of a misdemeanor and that the House should wait for the case to go through appeals. Cofield suggested that Henriquez take a survey of his constituents to see if he should resign or not.