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March 31, 2006
McKinney: Guard Molested Me Because I'm Black

Cynthia McKinney may cause a security crisis all on her own in the nation's capital before she gets done with her moment of infamy. Instead of apologizing for failing to wear proper identification, violating a security checkpoint, ignoring a security officer when he asked her to stop, and then assaulting him when he attempted to detain her, McKinney claims that she has been victimized -- by the racist and sexist molesters who guard the government offices in DC:

Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the Georgia congresswoman who had an altercation with a Capitol Police officer, said Friday a Capitol police officer started the incident by "inappropriately touching and stopping" her after she walked past a security checkpoint.

McKinney, speaking at a news conference, declared she will be exonerated.

"Let me be clear. This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman," McKinney said, surrounded by supporters at predominantly black Howard University. ...

Her lawyer, James W. Myart Jr., said, "Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, like thousands of average Americans across this country, is, too, a victim of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials because of how she looks and the color of her skin."

"Ms. McKinney is just a victim of being in Congress while black," Myart said. "Congresswoman McKinney will be exonerated."

Apparently Rep. McKinney has some sort of defect which keeps her from following the standard security practices with which her colleagues manage to comply every day. As someone who has entered into Congressional office buildings on occasion, I can assure CQ readers that they do not present insurmountable obstacles to one's day. If you've traveled in an airport since 9/11, you've experienced more inconvenience than you would find at these checkpoints. Further, members of Congress can bypass the checkpoints altogether if they wear a special pin identifying themselves as such -- which McKinney, for some reason, refuses to do.

Rest assured, what started off as a stupid and narcissistic incident has already grown into an embarrassment for the entire party. According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, Juanita Millender-McDonald, personally intervened with the House sergeant-at-arms to keep McKinney from being arrested for assault:

Channel 2 Action News has learned that Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA.) intervened when word got out Wednesday night that McKinney might be arrested.

She says she approached the House sergeant-at-arms to discuss the situation.

Millender-McDonald sits on the House committee that oversees the Capitol Hill police and the sergeant-at-arms' office.

Millender-McDonald does not believe what she did constitutes “intervention”, said spokeswoman Denise Mixon. “She simply wanted some questions answered,” Mixon said.

Unfortunately for Millender-McDonald, if she pressured the sergeant-at-arms to leave McKinney alone, that constitutes obstruction of justice, as that office is responsible for law enforcement and security oversight for Congress and its offices:

The Sergeant at Arms is an officer of the House with law enforcement, protocol, and administrative responsibilities (House Rule II). The Sergeant at Arms is elected at the beginning of each Congress by the membership of the chamber. The duties of the Sergeant at Arms are mandated in law, House rules, custom, and policies determined by the House Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on House Administration in the exercise of their oversight roles. ...

As the chief law enforcement officer of the House, the Sergeant at Arms is responsible for security in the House wing of the Capitol, the House office buildings, and on adjacent grounds. Under the direction of the Speaker of the House or other presiding officer, the Sergeant at Arms plays an integral role in maintaining order and decorum in the House chamber. The Sergeant at Arms is authorized to hold up the mace, the symbol of the Sergeant at Arms’ authority, before unruly Members, and to carry the mace down the aisles of the House chamber to subdue disorderly conduct. The Sergeant at Arms may be directed to compel absent Members to attend House sessions in order to achieve the necessary quorum by escorting them to the chamber (House Rule XX). Both practices have been rare, particularlyin recent years. The Sergeant at Arms or his assistant attends all floor sessions.

The Sergeant at Arms is also responsible for ensuring the safety and security of Members of Congress, congressional staff, visiting national and foreign dignitaries, and tourists. Toward this mission, the Sergeant at Arms works in concert with the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol. These three officials comprise the Capitol Police Board.

Rounding out the circus was the appearance of fringe lunatics Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte issuing statements of their own, despite the fact that (a) they weren't witnesses to the incident, and (b) they have no particular expertise in security or law enforcement. It didn't stop Glover from supporting McKinney's claim to be a victim of racial profiling and "inappropriate touching", a term used in molestation cases. In the meantime, McKinney's embarrassed colleagues tried the let's-move-along, nothing-to-see-here approach that McKinney's outrageous claims completely negated. Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that hitting a security guard constituted no "big deal" prompted a reply from Speaker Denny Hastert's spokesman -- "How many officers would have to be punched before it becomes a big deal?"

Meanwhile, Fox News reports that a witness to the altercation has essentially corroborated the security officer's report. A female aide to Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) has given a statement to Capitol Police; Fox says that the staffer did not realize who the woman was until the story broke later in the day.

Will the Democrats continue to abide this embarrassment? Will we find that Rep. Millender-McDonald interfered with law enforcement on McKinney's behalf? One fact is for certain: now we know what the Democrats think of security in general. To quote Nancy Pelosi, it's no big deal.

UPDATE: Danny Glover says that he has no comment on the specific charges, but that he appeared with McKinney in order to support "our sister". And just to set the record straight, we're not talking about this Danny Glover, although he assures us that he often gets confused with the Lethal Weapon star...

UPDATE II: John Aravosis at Americablog tries to get his fellow "lefties" to see the difference between Jim Crow and legitimate security procedure:

I'm sorry, but what a pitiful excuse for a Democrat. Yes, let's cry racism and sexism and Democratism, I guess you'd call it, because a cop didn't recognize you and you decided to not even wear your member of Congress pin, or turn around when the cop called out to you while we're at war. Next time, it'll be better if the cop lets strangers without their pins just barge into the halls of Congress, bypass security, and oh blow the hell out of the entire building because they're afraid the person they stop might be - what? - a Democrat?

Like I said, the only thing more pathetic than McKinney is that NOW and the NAACP would lower themselves to attend this ridiculous farce of a press conference. Have they nothing better to do than pander to someone who belittles legitimate concerns about race and gender and political bias?

Pathetic liberal groups, and pathetic Democratic members of Congress. Their funders should cut them all off until they prove the worth of their continued existence.

Some of you wondered why I wrote about my respect for John; now you know why. We may not agree on much, but he's as willing to hold his side accountable for their stupidity as I am mine.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 31, 2006 5:51 PM

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