Prof convicted of vandalizing home of NRA lobbyist
University of Nebraska, Lincoln professor Patricia Hill has been convicted of spraying fake blood on the home of NRA lobbyist Chris Cox and ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Hill, a research assistant professor in UNL’s Department of Sociology, and Amanda Gailey, an associate professor in the English Department, staged separate protests outside Cox’s Alexandria, Virginia home last month. Cox, a long-time NRA lobbyist, currently serves as the NRA’s chief political strategist and the Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
This is not the first time that Gailey made headlines over her political activism. In August of last year, the academic was involved in protesting a UNL student who was attempting to recruit new members for a conservative organization Turning Point USA.
According to The Washington Post, Gailey, along with former College of William and Mary visiting professor Catherine Koebel, carried provocative signs and distributed flyers outside of Cox’s home and his wife’s business in April, shortly after an anonymous group created a fake website for the business featuring photographs of dead bodies.
Gailey and Koebel insist that they were very careful to ensure that their protest actions stayed within the law, but Hill took the opposite approach, allegedly spraying Cox’s home with fake blood in October and then repeating the act of vandalism in January. The Cox family’s lawyer also reportedly claims that she attached stickers to their home.
While Gailey was careful to avoid breaking the law, she told the Post that she does not think “the Cox family is getting enough social pressure,” and argued that “people need to stop treating these predatory, sick people like they’re just a neighbor.”
Gailey further justified her protest by calling Cox an “indefensible human being.”
Alexandria police arrested Hill on January 11 following her second act of vandalism, The Omaha World-Herald reported.
“The university has nothing to do with these events,” UNL said in a statement, as reported by the publication. “Amanda Gailey was acting on her own time and expressing her personal views. Patricia Hill’s actions are a local law enforcement matter in Virginia. It is premature for us to comment.”
On Monday, Judge Donald M. Haddock Jr. found Hill guilty of misdemeanor destruction of property and ordered her to pay a $500 fine, the Post reported. He also ordered her to refrain from contacting the Cox family and stay at least 500 feet away from their home, or face an additional $500 penalty.
Hill was also served with a warrant related to another alleged vandalism in October.
“The motive here is that Mr. Cox works for the NRA; she doesn’t like that. That’s fine. She can exercise her First Amendment right,” the prosecuting attorney reportedly told the court, but argued that Hill was not merely exercising her right to free speech.
According to the report, the trial revealed that Cox’s children were home when Hill sprayed their steps with a “red, gel-like substance.” Citing a credible risk to the Cox family, their attorney petitioned for a protection order, which the judge granted in the form of a temporary order banning Hill from Cox’s wife’s workplace and Washington and Virginia NRA offices until the case is resolved in August.
Hill’s lawyer disputed testimony identifying Hill, arguing that it was possible that another individual carried out the attack. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Hill is appealing the case and will appear before a circuit court jury in June, but regardless of the outcome she will not face additional sanctions from UNL, in accordance with university policy.
According to the Herald, Gailey reacted to the verdict by stating that “Cox has the nerve to cry to the courts because someone allegedly put a harmless red substance [on his home].”
“In Santa Fe, Texas, parents are putting children in a morgue because yet another disgruntled boy easily got weapons, thanks to gun laws pushed by Mr. Cox,” she added.
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