Rep. McKinney’s Kerfuffle

(I’m trying to write this in as neutral a manner as possible, I apologize if I slip up)
I’m sure by now that most people who pay attention to this sort of thing have already noticed it, but Rep. Cynthia McKinney is involved in a stir… again. This time it’s over an encounter with a Capitol Hill Police Officer (as a note, the Capitol Hill Police is a congressional agency – the only federal level police force not under the executive branch).

Her story – she was in a rush to get to an important meeting and wasn’t wearing her congressional pin that identifies her as a member of Congress. The officer did not recognize her and attempted to stop her by grabbing her arm. There was some sort of physical contact. She showed her ID. The officer let her go. (by the way, on her website she has the “Did you know?” as “Georgia is commonly known as The Peach State.” Who is this for? Are there constituents who care enough to look at her website who don’t know this?)

Rep. McKinney is also saying that race was the reason it happened, saying “this whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female, black congresswoman.” At the rally, members of NAACP and NOW spoke on McKinney’s behalf.

According to the police account (from here), “the officer asked McKinney three times to halt before putting his hand out to restrain her. That’s when Capitol Hill police — who asked a federal prosecutor Monday to approve an arrest warrant for McKinney — say the outraged congresswoman hit the officer.”

According to 11Alive: Sources say that the officer was at a position in the Longworth House Office Building, and neither recognized McKinney, nor saw her credentials as she went around the metal detector. The officer called out, “Ma’am, Ma’am,” and walked after her in an attempt to stop her. When he caught McKinney, he grabbed her by the arm. Witnesses say McKinney pulled her arm away, and with her cell phone in hand, punched the officer in the chest.

(this part will be non-neutral)
Here’s my take: Rep. McKinney, at the very least, showed a severe lack in judgment at the time of the event – and continues to. If everything went the way that the Congresswoman says, then having any sort of physical altercation with the police officer was a bad idea. Let’s take a quick poll – who out there thinks that, when confronted by a law enforcement official of any kind for any reason (even if the officer is wrong), physical altercation is a good idea? Anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Members of Congress are allowed to bypass metal detectors, yes, but they are also supposed to wear their pin while doing so. Rep. McKinney’s defense so far has been that plenty of members don’t wear their pin – she pointed out that we could go in to the hall and see them with out their pin. However, very few (only one that I know of) don’t wear their pin and then have a physical altercation with Capitol Police for asking to see their ID card.

Now, as for the racial profiling charge – it could be true. The Capitol Police have had suspected issues in the not-too-distant past. However, I haven’t seen another member of the Congressional Black Caucus complain about this happening to them. And there hasn’t been any report about stoppings and questionings by the CHP of CBC members. Or female members. McKinney makes this claim: “The pin is not the issue. The issue is face recognition.” Really? By her own admission, the Capitol Hill Police protect 535 members of Congress and the Senate. Every police officer on the force is supposed to recognize all 535 of them instantaneously? If it were her office building, I would think that she would have more of a case. But Rep. McKinney’s office is in the Cannon House Office Building, not Longworth. Maybe she has a lot of meetings in Longworth. That could explain why she thinks she should be recognized. But does that excuse what she did? How many of us think that we should be recognized at our regular haunts and aren’t? Do we do anything mean about it or are we nice and congenial about it?

Let me tell you how I think a normal person would have acted under these circumstances (that is, after the altercation and after it was found out). A normal person would have first apologized to the officer. Second, this person would have explained what happened and said that they thought they should have been recognized, but apologized for the instinctual reaction. Note the words “apologized.” However, we haven’t heard this from Rep. McKinney. As the AJC editorial said today “But why make friends when you can make headlines?”

By the way, I think the State GOP using this in the gubernatorial race is pretty lame. What does this have to do with being Governor? Especaiily, what does this have to do with the GOP gubernatorial race during primary season? Nothing (that’s the answer to both questions, if you were wondering).Just scoring cheap, easy points. Just making noise.

15 Comments so far

  1. Andrew (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 10:05 am

    And maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t recognized because of that awful new hair style. Now that is the real crime.

  2. Eric (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    Why does Cynthia McKinney always make everything about race? [Fill in one of a zillion reasons that she comes up with here] She’s just a disgrace. I guess she can go ride down Cynthia McKinney Blvd. in DeKalb and think about what a great person of the people she is. I’m surprised she didn’t tell the Capitol Hill officer that she’s so important that she had a street renamed after her. :)

  3. John (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    Now we alsp have information that has come to light that Ms. McKinney used taxpayer funds intended strictly for OFFICE SUPPLIES, for goodness sakes, to fly Isaac Hayes to Atlanta for a political function. Apparently her staffers have admitted the “error” (I’m sure it was purely accidental) and have siad that they will reimburse the fund for the outlay. I’m sure you all recall how McKinney called for a congressional investigation into the White House’s knowledge of 9/11 prior to its happening. Perhaps given McKinney’s proclivity for using taxpayer funds illegally there should be a full audit of every nickel her office has ever spent. But of course that would be racial profiling.

  4. Lori (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    Ugh. She is such an embarrassment.

  5. morewhitemen (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    Yeah, she should resign so’s we kin git another white man up in thar! How dare a woman strike a man who grabs her.. I mean, cops can touch anyone anyhow they wantm right ladies? I bet the guard is still icing that wound.. Anyone who has ever been in any altercation can see this guy is milking it, and likely prodded to do so to keep the “she’s crazy!” going.

    But please, lets focus on this in Washington and not the immigration bills. I’m sure once they pass we can be aghast at a Latino woman who didn’t “have her papers fully visable” or “stop when the policeman said freeze” (in English) and how clearly she also deserved manhandling and demonization.

  6. Andrew (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

    >>Anyone who has ever been in any altercation can see this guy is milking it,

    Who’s milking what? The “female black woman” who called the press conference, or the officer that took a punch to the chest?

  7. Eric (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

    Morewhitemen, you don’t happen to work for the McKinney campaign? All of that sounded like some talking points out of Cynthia McKinney’s mouth.

  8. selfimportant (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 9:45 am

    I’m sure McKinney’s campaign staffers read this blog.. Christ.

  9. askaquestion (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 9:59 am

    cheney shot a guy and got away with it. what’s the worse about this?

  10. sadie (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 10:19 am

    The fellow Cheney shot didn’t file charges, did he?

  11. Daniel (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    And Cheney is not associated with Atlanta or the Atlanta-area, in particular. McKinney is and, as such, is a subject for this blog.

  12. Eric (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

    Selfimportant, that was called sarcasm.

  13. Brandon (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

    Is this white security guard being racist towards Cynthia McKinney?

    Or is she just taking advantage of the situation to play it up in
    front of the cameras filming her for a movie?

    Either way, this footage taken prior to her recent scuffle with the
    Capitol Hill police shows the situation was bound to explode at some

    Funny thing is, I’m sure both sides will look at this video and say it
    supports their viewpoint:

  14. Miss Fire (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

    I hate her and I hope her staffers DO read this.

    That said: with that new hairstyle, the only thing she’s missing now is a gold tooth, track marks, and a john.

    And this is from a former resident of the 30032.

  15. k1ng (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

    “Rep. Cynthia McKinney reversed course and apologized Thursday for an altercation in which she entered a Capitol building unrecognized, refused to stop when asked by a police officer and then hit him.”

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