Boston bombings suspect: Sen. Greg Ball stands by call to torture Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson). (Oct. 12, 2012) State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson). (Oct. 12, 2012) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

advertisement | advertise on newsday

State Sen. Greg Ball is standing by his controversial Twitter post calling for the torture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Ball told News12 that the post would stay up regardless of how many critical comments he gets.

The outspoken Republican from Patterson has a history of making incendiary comments.

But Twitter users were quick to savage the state lawmaker after his Tsarnaev post. Ball's tweet, posted Friday, prompted more than 70 responses, most of them critical of the state senator.

"So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn't use torture on this punk to save more lives?" Ball tweeted.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

In a statement, Ball said that terrorists manipulate the country's open society to harm innocents. He said the question is whether torture can be justified if it saves lives.

"I am not shy in joining those who say yes, and I believe we must give those tasked with protecting us every constitutional and effective tool to do so," Ball wrote.

Others disputed the idea that torture yields intelligence.

"Torture him enough and you'll get him to confess to assassinating JFK and Abraham Lincoln," one user tweeted, ending the message by calling Ball an expletive.

"Anyone with a functional brain?" another user replied, mocking Ball's question.

Others took a gentler tone.

"New Yorkers expect better," one tweeted.

Another wrote: "Look, I'm from Boston, I'm there now, and I get the instinct, but we're America. We don't torture. We'll do this the right way."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

State Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) told News12 Ball should be more circumspect.

"I think the senator probably should have chosen his words a little more appropriately," Klein said.

A minority tweeted in support of Ball: "Why not? Can I help?" one person wrote.

HISTORY OF ONLINE CONTROVERSIES

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Ball, 35, represents a district that encompasses Putnam County, a Republican stronghold. He served first as an assemblyman and launched a congressional campaign before an opportunity presented itself when state Sen. Vincent "Uncle Vinny" Leibell decided not to seek re-election. Leibell would go on to win the election for Putnam County executive but was taken down by an FBI corruption investigation. Ball went on to win the 40th District seat and has represented the district since 2010.

Ball's online antics have gotten him into trouble in the past: Justin Wagner, his Democratic challenger in last November's election, filed a criminal complaint against him, alleging that he set up a fake campaign website and sent emails in his name. Ball's campaign admitted to sending the email and said it was a mistake.

Ball has cultivated a reputation as a flamboyant lawmaker who seems to delight in angering his political opponents. Although he casts himself as an Albany outsider and has embraced the maverick label given to him by some observers, others aren't so amused by his behavior.

Ball's supporters, however, are loyal and seem to savor his outbursts. A photo on his Twitter page shows him smiling and wearing a worn Yankees hat above the slogan "Gettin' It Done." Unlike Twitter, posters to Ball's Facebook page praise him for his "common sense on guns and military" and say he's willing to fight to the "last breath for our Constitution."

"Greg Ball gets better and better," a supporter wrote on Ball's Facebook page. "He is such a rare find in the liberal state of [New York]. Greg Ball for President!"

With News12 and Ken Schachter

You also may be interested in: