Skip to comments.McKinney says she regrets striking security officer
Posted on 03/30/2006 4:16:14 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia struck a Capitol Hill police officer Wednesday morning after the officer, not recognizing her as a member of Congress, tried to stop her from stepping around a security checkpoint, police confirmed.
The incident "has been brought to our attention and it is being investigated," said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for Capitol Hill police.
Congressional and police authorities, who spoke on condition that they not be named, said the investigation into the incident would stretch into today and that no arrest warrant would be issued for the DeKalb County Democrat if, indeed, one is until it is completed.
McKinney issued a statement Wednesday night saying she regretted the confontation.
"I know that Capitol Hill Police are securing our safety, and I appreciate the work that they do. I have demonstrated my support for them in the past, and I continue to support them now," she said.
A deputy police chief and a representative of the House's sergeant-at-arms visited McKinney's congressional office Wednesday afternoon. Neither commented to reporters.
The officer involved was not identified, but police officials said he was ready to press charges against McKinney a rare, if not unprecedented, action by a Capitol police officer against a member of Congress.
Police and congressional officials said they were not aware of any other incidents in which a member of Congress struck a Capitol Hill police officer or an officer pressed charges against a member, though conflicts between members and police at security checkpoints are not rare.
The incident occurred when McKinney was entering a House office building on Capitol Hill. She started walking around a metal detector and X-ray machine at one of the building's entrances, as members of Congress are allowed to do, when the officer tried to stop her, congressional and police officials said.
The officer either tapped McKinney on the shoulder or grabbed her arm, they said. McKinney spun around and struck the officer, though there are conflicting reports about whether she slapped him, punched him in the chest or hit him with a cellphone she had in her hand, they said.
Congressional staffers who have worked with McKinney said several factors may have contributed to the officer's failure to recognize McKinney as a member of Congress.
McKinney usually does not wear the special lapel pin given to members of Congress to make them easier to identify, and she apparently was not wearing it Wednesday morning, congressional and police officials said. Kerri Hanley, of the House sergeant-at-arms' office, said members are not required to wear the pin, though most do.
Police also keep books with pictures of each member at security checkpoints in the Capitol and in House and Senate office buildings to help them recognize lawmakers. However, even if the officer had consulted the book, he may not have recognized McKinney, who has altered her hairstyle since her official House photo was taken, congressional aides noted.
This is not the first time McKinney has had an encounter with Capitol Hill police. When she first arrived in Congress in 1993, an officer failed to recognize her because she was new and not wearing the congressional pin. After she complained, police put pictures of McKinney up at each security checkpoint to ensure it would not happen again.
McKinney also once ran into problems at the White House. USA Today reported that when McKinney, who is African-American, and a young white aide arrived at a welcoming ceremony in May 1998 for then-Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, the guard at the gate deferred to the aide as the person of authority. Once in the executive mansion, McKinney said, another guard tried to stop her until Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) stepped in.
"I am absolutely sick and tired of having to have my appearance at the White House validated by white people," McKinney wrote in a complaint to then-President Bill Clinton. "I don't need to be stopped or questioned because I happen to look like hired help."
The White House apologized to McKinney.
Republicans were quick to comment on Wednesday's incident, circulating an e-mail noting that McKinney's confrontation with the Capitol Hill officer came on the same day that her party announced an election-year "affirmation" of its commitment to shoring up the nation's security.
"On the day when Democrats held a media stunt to unveil their security agenda, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) hit a Capitol police officer. Not exactly a show of support for law enforcement," wrote Sean Spicer, spokesman for the House Republican Conference.
Brian Robinson, an aide to Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, said he spotted McKinney on Wednesday evening as she entered the Longworth House Office Building. Robinson said she walked around the security checkpoint, then though no one tried to stop her walked back and showed the police officer her congressional ID. Robinson said she still wasn't wearing her congressional lapel pin.
The Associated Press contributed information from McKinney's statement
I'd say she's the perfect poster girl for the Dems' stand on national security.
Good post. GREAT COMMENTS! BTTT!
That pretty much wraps it up.
FREE THE TAPES!
She should be arrested and jailed for assault. The moonbat thinks she can get away with anything.
If it were you or I we'd be in jail.
But she is black and a woman and obviously the victim here.
Cynthia McKinney is easy to identify...just look for the woman with a huge gaping hole of a mouth and the tinfoil hat!
McKinney has an enormous racial chip on her shoulder. She's an embarrassment to us Georgians. How she got re-elected by DeKalb County residents is beyond me.
Sounds to me like she's TRYING to provoke confrontation. Her arrogance is breath-taking.
Please dear Lord please let me see Congresscritter McKinney being frog marched out of the capital building in handcuffs.
She should NOT be given a pass allowing her to walk around any metal detectors or X-ray machines ANYWHERE! She is certifiably insane. (And as likely to strap an explosive belt on herself as anyone.)
What she is : Is a poster child for black racism.
Arrogant to the point she believes everyone should recognise her whether she wears her Congressional "get out of jail free" pin or not. What good is a security checkpoint anyway when privileged people are allowed to walk around it?
Ever wonder what would be said if a White politician said
""I am absolutely sick and tired of having to have my appearance at the White House validated by black people,"
Will she be Charged?? Bwahahahahahaha, Dont make me laugh.
The cop will be lucky if they dont move him to guarding the boiler room of the Capitol for the next 20 years. This is Queen Cynthia we are dealing with here.
Ummmmm....exactly where in this statement does she say she regrets striking the security officer?
Why is this surprising... to anyone?
... after being informed there's a videotape of the assault
Where's Jesse Jackson?