The Washington snake pit and Cynthia McKinney
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
Apr 6, 2006, 21:48
There is no question that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is the target of persistent and ongoing efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to prevent her from doing her elected duties. One of the very few honorable representatives in a hopelessly corrupt and venal US government, McKinney---a longtime critic of covert operations and the CIA, US foreign policy, and the only member of Congress to address 9/11---has been singled out for intimidation, repeated police harassment ("security"), racial profiling, and a special brand of national mass media character assassination. And now, even the threat of jail.
McKinney gave a powerful defense in her original statement about the incident [my emphasis in italics - LC]:
"I have served as a Member of Congress for more than 11 years. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I seem to evoke memory loss, especially from certain police officers who claim not to be able to recognize my face while I go to work everyday, representing the people of Georgia's 4th Congressional District . . .
"Why my face is continually unrecognizable can only be answered by these offending police officers. Capitol Hill Police are given face recognition instructions as a part of their official training. Capitol Hill Police are required to recognize, greet, and distinguish Members of Congress as a part of their official role and responsibilities. In fact, according to the US Capitol Police, their mission is to protect and support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. The US Capitol Police mission statement makes no distinction about selective application of its mission depending upon whether a Member of Congress is black, woman, or has a new hairstyle.
"But, honestly, this incident is not about wearing a congressional pin or changing my hairstyle.
"It is true that I have changed my hairstyle. It is true that at the time I was not wearing my pin. But many Members of Congress aren't wearing their pins today. Just in the last hour, at least eight Members of Congress have been spotted speaking from the well of the House without their pins and even more have been seen on the Hill today not wearing their Congressional pin. How many of them were stopped by Capitol Hill Police? Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers?
"This morning at approximately 8:57 a.m., I was going to a Budget Committee meeting due to start at 9 a.m. I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, body-blocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the police officer resumed his duties."
Anybody who knows military/police brutality understands what McKinney has endured. Anyone who understands provocation and setup knows the drill. Ask any African-American who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, anywhere in America. Ask any Palestinian who is in the crosshairs of Israeli "security" forces. Ask any Iraqi, under the yoke of US occupation. Ask any Hurricane Katrina victim in New Orleans, who watched Blackwater Security mercenaries take over their neighborhood.