PANW Editor's Note: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has been an outspoken critic of American domestic and foreign policy. She was instrumental in organizing a hearing in the US Congress on the atrocities committed by local, state and federal authorities in the aftermath of the Katrina Hurricane last August and September, 2005.
In addition she has been a strong opponent of US foreign policy in regard to the occupation of Iraq, the American coup against Haitian President Jean Bertrand-Aristide and the so-called
'war on terrorism.'
Below is an article describing a recent encounter she had while attempting to enter the US Capital building where she works representing her congressional district in Georgia. In addition, we are reprinting an appeal to come to her defense against these charges.
These allegations and attempts at prosecution should be observed carefully by the African-American community and all other fair-minded persons in the United States and the world.
McKinney: Race sparked tiff with police
Lawmaker faces possible charges after allegedly striking officer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia, faces possible criminal charges for a Wednesday altercation with a Capitol Police officer, one of her lawyers said Friday that the real issues were "sex, race and Ms. McKinney's progressiveness."
In a news conference featuring actor Danny Glover and singer Harry Belafonte, McKinney said she would be exonerated and that "this whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female, black congresswoman."
She had little else to say, citing the ongoing investigation into her allegedly striking a police officer after he failed to recognize her at a security checkpoint and tried to stop her from passing.
One Republican congressman dismissed the star-studded news conference. "Rep. McKinney appearing with the star of "Lethal Weapon"? Not exactly the message you want to be sending," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Asked Friday if Capitol Police intended to bring charges against the congresswoman, Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said only, "I know we're still investigating."
The 51-year-old legislator was surrounded by more than two dozen supporters at the Friday news conference, some carrying handwritten placards that read "Recognize our congresswoman" and "Is Cynthia a target?"
During the conference, held at historically black Howard University in Washington, civil rights attorney James Myart said his client was "assaulted" by a Capitol Police officer, whose name the department refuses to release.
"Because she was assaulted and placed in impending fear of her safety, she responded," he said. "This case has just begun and we're going to fight, and we're going to use the U.S. Constitution."
Myart said McKinney would seek a criminal investigation against the officer, and a civil lawsuit against both the officer and the Capitol Police is being explored.
However, McKinney's other attorney, Michael Raffauf, downplayed the possibility of pressing charges against the officer, saying, "Not every assault deserves to be criminally prosecuted."
Myart further called the incident racial profiling and said there was "no excuse" for Capitol Police not recognizing his client, and Raffauf said she was stopped solely because of her race, gender and politics.
"It is the job of the Capitol Police to protect members of Congress. As a part of that job, they are to know who those members are," he said. "Whenever you put a police officer out on the street, he is supposed to know his job."
Members of Congress are allowed to bypass the metal detectors and security checkpoint. They are supposed to wear a lapel pin that identifies them as lawmakers. McKinney acknowledges she wasn't wearing one when she was stopped, but concurred with Myart that police should know who she is.
"The pin is not the issue," the six-time congresswoman said. "The issue is face recognition."
Glover and Belafonte refrained from addressing the facts of the case and said they were there to support McKinney. Belafonte said he did not know what happened during the Wednesday incident but wanted to make sure the matter was handled on "a very fair and very square basis."
"We've watched her be abused in the past, and she's overcome, stood strong," the outspoken Belafonte said. "We're not going to be absent or indifferent to the fact that she may be abused again."
Added Glover, "We're not here to judge the merits of the case, but here to support our sister."
Representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Organization for Women also spoke on McKinney's behalf.
McKinney represents a majority black district on the east side of metro Atlanta. She was first elected in 1992, but lost the seat in 2002. She regained it in 2004.
The congresswoman, who said she has had problems with Capitol Police not recognizing her in the past, demanded and received an apology from Bill Clinton's administration in 1998 after White House guards stopped her.
CNN's Brian Todd and Deidre Walsh contributed to this report.
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Defend Cynthia McKinney Now!
She has defended Us, We Must Defend Her
Neal Boortz: Rep. McKinney "looks like a ghetto slut"
Taken from http://mediamatters.org/items/200603310005
Hear Neal Boortz statements: http://mediamatters.org/static/audio/boortz-20060331.mp3
On the March 31 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz said that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." Boortz was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.
From the March 31 broadcast of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show, with producer Belinda Skelton and talk radio host Royal Marshall:
BOORTZ: For instance, or for goodness sakes, jump in and I'm gonna say -- I'm gonna start out with something controversial. I saw Cynthia McKinney's new hair-do. Have you seen it, Belinda?
BOORTZ: She looks like a ghetto slut.
SKELTON: Well, how is it?
BOORTZ: It's just -- it's hideous.
SKELTON: Is it braided? Or --
BOORTZ: No, it's not braided. It just flies away from her head in every conceivable direction. It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory. It's just hideous. To me, that hairstyle just shows contempt for -- no, it's not an Afro. I mean, no, it just shows contempt for the position that she holds and the body that she serves in. And, I'm sorry, there's just no other way to -- it's just a hideous and horrible looking --
MARSHALL: Her hairstyle?
BOORTZ: Yeah, the hairstyle. It just, it looks like an explosion. Have you seen it?
MARSHALL: Yeah, I like it.
BOORTZ: Oh, jeez.
MARSHALL: It looks better than the braids she was wearing.
BOORTZ: No, the braids had some dignity. They had some class.
MARSHALL: The braids had dignity?
BOORTZ: They had more class than this thing.
MARSHALL: This says, you know, kinda 2000s, you know, stepping up to the plate. Contemporary look, you know?
BOORTZ: She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence.
MARSHALL: OK, so you don't like her hair.
BOORTZ: Yeah, OK, I don't like her hair. I'm sorry.
MARSHALL: That being said, I think a lot of people would say it looks a lot better than those cornrows she was wearing. You can't tell me that's dignified.
BOORTZ: Well, I'm not a big cornrow fan but I got used to her with that. OK?
MARSHALL: So she's staying the same for you?
BOORTZ: She looks like a shih tzu!
MARSHALL: I like Cynthia's new hairstyle.
BOORTZ: Well, there you go. Differing opinions.
Boortz posted similar comments on the "Neal's Nuze" section of his website, in which he said McKinney "looks like ghetto trash." From Boortz's website:
It doesn't look like the latest Cynthia McKinney mess is going to go away any time soon. Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Capitol Hill police have notified the federal prosecutor's office in Washington that they are going to seek an arrest warrant for McKinney next week. OK, Now I've seen Cynthia McKinney's new hairstyle. There is just no other way to say this. It's just hideous. She looks like ghetto trash. Get a braider over there ... quick! Nobody with a modicum of self-respect would go around looking like that. And don't give me any stuff for saying this. I've endured years of "bald" remarks. I'm entitled.
Posted to the web on Friday March 31, 2006 at 1:03 PM EST
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