Thrasher: Shelburne illegally blocking constituents from social media page

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio


Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 — Don Thrasher, chairman of the Nelson County Republican party, accused District 5 Magistrate Eric Shelburne of blocking people from his official magistrate Facebook page.

In a email Thrasher sent to the members of Nelson Fiscal Court Thursday, he said Shelburne had blocked a “pro pledge” constituent as well as “many others.” The blocked access was to his elected official Facebook page, not his personal one, Thrasher said.

“THIS IS AGAINST THE LAW,” Thrasher wrote. “Is this what Nelson County Fiscal Court condones, an ILLEGAL ACT? Please stand up for what is right so legal action doesn’t have to be taken.”

SHELBURNE: REACTING TO “CYBERBULLYING.” In an interview with the Nelson County Gazette, Shelburne said he had indeed blocked three people from his official Facebook page, including Thrasher and a Woodlawn Springs resident.

Shelburne expressed his frustration at what he said amounted to social media cyberbullying in how his critics were basically “patriot shaming” him by their comments on his Facebook page and other social media forums.

Thrasher denied he engaged in any sort of bullying, and suggested that Shelburne’s behavior was more closely resembled bullying than his own.

Shelburne said he is checking with his attorney to determine if he has the right to block people from his elected official page. If it is not allowed, Shelburne said his only course of action may be to entirely delete the page.

It isn’t something he wants to do, however, because Facebook has been a great way to interact with constituents and to help keep them informed of issues in the district.

“I’m very upset about it,” he said. “I feel like I’m being bullied and slandered (by some of the comments).”

Shelburne said he appreciates the tremendous outpouring of support he’s been receiving from constiuents via Facebook in the aftermath of Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting.

From left, Jailer Buck Snellen and Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa stand between Magistrate Eric Shelburne (facing camera) and county GOP party chairman Don Thrasher at the conclusion of Tuesday’s court meeting. On the video, Thrasher can be heard telling Shelburne he was questioning his patriotism.

IT BEGAN WITH THE PLEDGE. The dispute between Thrasher and Shelburne began at Tuesday morning’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting. Thrasher asked the court to consider an ordinance that would require reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before the start of every court meeting.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Thrasher said the Pledge of Allegiance was a unifying force, and the surrounding counties all begin their fiscal court meetings with the pledge.

Shelburne told Thrasher that he served four years in the military and that he didn’t believe he needed to say the pledge before every meeting. He added that Thrasher’s request felt like he was questioning the court members’ patriotism. Thrasher denied questioning Shelburne’s patriotism, and a shouting match began between the men.

After Watts restored order, he adjourned the meeting, and suggested the men take their discussion elsewhere. But as it turned out, the discussion was not yet over.

At the end of the meeting, Thrasher approached Shelburne to talk about the issue. The discussion quickly became heated again, with Thrasher admitting he was now indeed questioning Shelburne’s patriotism.

“That’s an insult to me, and its an insult to my service,” Shelburne replied.

Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa and Nelson County Jailer Buck Snellen stepped forward to separate the two men. Thrasher then left, telling Sheburne that “the 55 voters you barely won by really appreciated that, brother.”


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