Dover Rep’s Take on Klein-Knight’s Use of ‘N’ Word Stokes Controversy

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Writer and community organizer Jordan Thompson of Nashua.

Rep. Casey Conley, D-Dover


Comments critical of BIPOC activists who publicly called out Rep. Nicole Klein-Knight, D-Manchester, for repeatedly using the “N” word and calling security in speaking with a young Black activist at the State House last month have heated up an already uneasy controversy.

Rep. Casey Conley, D-Dover, who is serving his third term in the House and sits on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, shared a post that writer and community organizer Jordan Thompson posted to his Twitter account calling it wrong and offensive.

Conley, who is White, said in the post that the situation should have been dealt with “internally.”

“We are all human and we all make mistakes. That is a statement that applies universally, not just this particular situation,” Conley wrote.

“The ‘activists’ who publicized this situation involving Nicole were doing some score settling. There is absolutely no reason this couldn’t have been handled quietly and internally. That is what adults do. That is what professionals do,” Conley wrote.

Thompson of Nashua, who is Black, posted on Twitter: “To my BIPOC friends and community members: this is what NH Democrats think of us when we stand up against bigotry within our own party. Not only are Rep. Conley’s comments disparaging and disrespectful, they are also false. We tried to address this issue privately to no avail.

“Rep. Conley and his colleagues had no problem aligning themselves with Black Lives Matter in 2020, but now that BIPOC activists pose a challenge to the party, our activism is mocked. It has been implied that we are not professional, and that we are not adults.

“We don’t have any axes to grind, we just want accountability,” Thompson wrote in a series of tweets Wednesday.

Thompson also pointed out “Rep. Nicole Klein-Knight still has not apologized for using the N word repeatedly, nor has she apologized to the young Black activist who she verbally harassed and called security on at the State House.” Jonah Wheeler was the activist.

“The above screenshot is just one example out of many. NH Democratic representatives are hiding behind private channels and Facebook groups rather than facing their constituents and the public directly. We deserve better,” Thompson wrote.

Clifton West, head of Black Lives Matter in the Seacoast, also weighed in.

“Rep. Casey Conley’s comments feel like a huge stab in the back,” West said. “This is the rep that has supported the BLM movement publicly during the summer of 2020 and now behind a ‘private forum,’ he shows himself to be a performative ally and he turned his back on these same BIPOC organizers and activists….It’s honestly just disgusting and disappointing to see,” West said.

The release detailing the conversation was made public Tuesday and signed by Sebastian Fuentes, Deborah Opramolla, Asma Elhuni, Clifton West, Marcus Ponce de Leon, Jordan Thompson, Carlos Cardona, Alissandra Rodriguez-Murray, Emma Shapiro-Weiss, Grace Kindeke, and Erika Perez Duaa Zahra.

On Twitter Wednesday, Elhuni said: “This breaks my heart. I feel like they just stabbed us in the back…”

See news release here:

Klein-Knight didn’t respond to a request for comment sent by email and her voicemail was full.

Conley didn’t return requests for comment Wednesday.

Democratic leadership in the House on Tuesday called for Klein-Knight to be removed from the Criminal Justice committee.

And House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, R-Auburn, called the allegations “unbelievably appalling.”

House Democratic Leader Rep. Renny Cushing of Hampton, and Deputy Leader David Cote of Nashua released the following statement Tuesday and said they would ask House Speaker Sherman Packard to remove Klein-Knight from the Criminal Justice committee:

“We are both shocked and deeply disappointed that a legislator would use this kind of inexcusable racist language.

“…The behavior and language used by Rep. Klein-Knight is completely irreconcilable with legislating in a way that promotes the safety and humanity of BIPOC Granite Staters,” Cushing and Cote said. 

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