Federal Grand Jury to Hear McKinney Assault Case
A federal grand jury will soon begin hearing evidence about Rep. Cynthia McKinney's run-in with a Capitol Police officer, a lawyer familiar with the case said late Wednesday.
The lawyer, who declined to be identified because of grand jury secrecy, confirmed that federal prosecutors had agreed to get involved in the case in which a black lawmaker is accused of striking a white officer after he tried to stop her from entering a House office building without going through a security checkpoint.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said McKinney turned the officer's failure to recognize her into a criminal matter when she failed to stop at his request, and then struck him.
"He reached out and grabbed her and she turned around and hit him," Gainer said on CNN. "Even the high and the haughty should be able to stop and say, 'I'm a congressman' and then everybody moves on."
"This is not about personality," added House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "It's not about racial profiling. It's about making this place safer."
For her part, McKinney wasn't backing down from the argument. She charged anew that racism is behind what she said is a pattern of difficulty in clearing Hill security checkpoints.
"This has become much ado about hairdo," she said Wednesday on CBS' "The Early Show." McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, recently dropped her trademark cornrows in favor of a curly brown afro.
The police aren't the ones who are racist, one Republican said.
"Cynthia McKinney is a racist," Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," a day after abandoning his reelection bid under a cloud of ethics charges. "She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her. This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."
McKinney has garnered little support among fellow Democrats in her feud with the Capitol police. No one in her party chose to join her at a news conference last Friday to discuss the situation.
Republicans, meanwhile, presented a resolution commending Capitol police for professionalism toward members of Congress and visitors _ even though they "endure physical and verbal assaults in some extreme cases."
"I don't think it's fair to attack the Capitol Police and I think it's time that we show our support for them," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R- N.C., a sponsor of the measure. Ignoring a police officer's order to stop, or hitting one, "is never OK," McHenry said.
Some GOP members have said the McKinney incident serves to underscore Democratic insensitivity to security concerns.
No citizen is above the Law.
Not even Congresswoman McKinney.
Trying to spin this as racism, sexism, 'inappropriate touching' is just making her look like an idiot. Though I suspect, from previous reports, when she is faced with re-election she runs through something like this, creating controversy and claiming racism to stir her base of support to be re-elected.
Question is, between this charge (which the Capitol Police said they only want a charge of a misdemeanor, not a felony), and the investigation of illegal use of public funds with the Hayes incident, will she still stay in office?
Will she resign?
Somehow I don't think she has that type of integrity.
******** April 06, 2006 UPDATE ********
McKinney Apologizes for Incident With Cop
Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., expressed "sincere regret" Thursday for her altercation with a Capitol police officer, and offered an apology to the House.
"There should not have been any physical contact in this incident," McKinney said in brief remarks on the House floor. "I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all and I regret its escalation and I apologize."
McKinney's comments came after the case had been referred to a federal grand jury for possible prosecution.
She had previously insisted she had done nothing wrong, and accused police of "racial profiling." She is African-American and the police officer is white.
McKinney, 51, has a history of confrontations with officers.
The incident has embarrassed Democrats, including fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus, none of whom have publicly defended her behavior in the March 29 incident.
Rep. Mel Watt, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has had no statement on the incident. The caucus' silence stands in stark contrast to it's investigations of past scuffles between the U.S. Capitol Police and members.
One such probe occurred in 1990, when the caucus investigated whether Rep. Mickey Edwards, R-Okla. poked a black female Capitol Police officer and shouted curses at her, after she had denied entrance to an Edwards staffer who did not have House identification card with her.
A year later, the CBC investigated an incident in which a Capitol Police officer allegedly denied Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, entrance to the garage of the Rayburn House Office Building because the officer did not believe Stokes was a member.
McKinney's apology came after an eventful day in which two witnesses to the incident were subpoenaed by the grand jury and Gainer for the first time pubicly defended the officer involved. It was not clear which, if any, of her colleagues had urged McKinney to make the statement she did.
The incident in a House office building has caused a commotion on Capitol Hill, where security in the era of terrorist threat is tighter than ever and where authorities had to order an evacuation just Monday because of a power outage. Capitol Police have turned the McKinney case over to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein.
Hmmm, could it be she is finally realizing she has majorly stepped over the line now that it has gone to a Grand Jury and two witnesses to the incident has been sworn in now?
I don't think she owes the House the apology, I think she should publicly apologize to the police for her actions and her smear campaign against the officers.
There is no excuse for her actions, both physical and her media press afterwards. It was a debacle, shameful, and completely dishonest.
Democrats like this need to be gotten rid of, there is no place for racist comments from individuals that are there to promote unity and to heal a nation that has been divided by racism a long time ago, not to keep introducing it every time you need some sort of talking pint when you get in trouble.
Hmm was just about to post, when I re-read it, and find the following very interesting:
It was not clear which, if any, of her colleagues had urged McKinney to make the statement she did.
I can imagine that many other Democrats behind the scenes have been telling McKinney to shove a sock in it. She has become radioactive in her own party, especially when Democrats are trying to act like they are tough on Security of this Nation.
Tough on security? I really don't think this type of message McKinney is putting out is the message they want as being tough on security.
******** PM UPDATE April 6th ********
McKinney made no reference to racial profiling in her statement on the House floor.
But even as McKinney appeared to be trying to put the issue to rest, a bodyguard she hired - reportedly a former Georgia state trooper - was raising another furor when he threatened a television reporter trying to interview McKinney outside the Capitol just minutes before she appeared on the House floor.
When the reporter from Cox Broadcasting tried to ask McKinney about the grand jury, the bodyguard told him, "I'm going to put your ass in jail. I'm a police officer," a videotape of the incident shows.
Asked if he worked for Capitol police, the man said, "I work for Miss McKinney."
Word that McKinney had hired a bodyguard roiled the ranks of the Capitol police who were worried that the guard was carrying a weapon. They said they are concerned about what the bodyguard might do if Capitol police challenged McKinney at a security checkpoint.
McKinney's office did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.
Even though she seems to want to put this to rest, she feels the need to hire a bodyguard for some reason, and an aggressive one at that. Capitol Police have good reason to worry, if this aggressive bodyguard tries to intefere if McKinney is stopped again because she has no identification again, what will a (possibly) armed bodyguard do?
What is McKinney trying to prove by hiring a armed bodyguard now?
She has stated this was a mistake, she has apologized...albeit to the wrong people, her apology should have been to the Officers and not to the House.
But now, after all this, why does she feel the need to hire a (possibly) armed bodyguard?
See previous posts on McKinney:
Cynthia McKinney (Part One) - Voting record
Cynthia McKinney (Part Two) - Police Altercation and Smear Campaign by McKinney
Cynthia McKinney (Part Three) - Variety, Pictures, Support, Quotes, Idiocy
Others Blogging on this issue:
Expose the Left, Sister Toldjah, Confederate Yankee