A congressman from South Carolina who fought against taking down the Confederate flag was arrested Tuesday for allegedly beating his wife and aiming a gun at her. Ironically, the arrested congressman had voted to issue harsher punishments for domestic violence offenders while recently sending Christmas cards to his fellow lawmakers accusing them of moral ineptitude for removing the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds last year.
On Monday, deputies responded to the home of Rep. Chris Corley after receiving a domestic abuse call. According to the police report, Corley claimed his wife attempted to punch him in the face after accusing him of infidelity. When Corley pushed her away, his wife reportedly scratched his forehead.
But according to the congressman’s wife, Corley repeatedly struck her in the face with a closed fist while their two young children were in the house. Corley’s wife told police that her husband only stopped hitting her because the children were screaming and he finally noticed blood pouring from her head.
Instead of immediately ending the assault, Corley allegedly retrieved a Smith & Wesson handgun from his car and aimed the weapon at his wife while threatening to kill her. After reportedly threatening to also commit suicide, Corley went into the bedroom as his wife and children fled across the street to her mother’s residence.
While arresting Corley for domestic violence, police recovered a handgun from the congressman’s possession. On Tuesday morning, Corley was charged with first-degree domestic violence and pointing a firearm at another person.
At a bond hearing later that afternoon, Corley was issued a $20,000 bond while ordered to make no contact with his wife nor possess a firearm. If convicted on both counts, Corley faces up to 15 years in prison.
Earlier this month, Corley sent Christmas cards to his fellow Republican legislators depicting an image of the Confederate flag. To his Democratic colleagues, Corley sent a Christmas card with a photo of his children.
“May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right,” Corley wrote in his Christmas card. “May you have a blessed and happy Christmas, and may you take this joyous time as an opportunity to ask forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.”
On the back of the card, Corley included a quote from Dante’s Inferno: “This is Cocytus, the ninth circle, the fourth and last great water of Hell, and here fixed in the ice, each according to his guilt, are punished sinners guilty of treachery against those who they are bound to by special ties.”
After the Confederate flag was removed from Statehouse grounds in July 2015, Corley sponsored a bill for a statewide vote to return the flag. The Confederate flag had been removed after a White supremacist named Dylann Roof murdered nine black people during a prayer service inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.