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Friday, March 31, 2006

 

AP: Ga. Black Congresswoman refuses apology over hitting cop

Mar 31, 11:29 AM US/Eastern

By LAURIE KELLMAN -- Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Cynthia McKinney, left, the Georgia congresswoman who had a physical altercation with a police officer, is speaking out about the episode after saying she regretted the incident.

But she has refused to apologize in a statement and a brief on-camera interview.

The six-term congresswoman apparently struck a Capitol Police officer when he tried to stop her from entering a House office building without going through a metal detector. Members of Congress wear identifying lapel pins and routinely are waved into buildings without undergoing security checks. The officer apparently did not recognize McKinney, she said in a statement.

Asked on-camera Thursday by WSB-TV of Atlanta whether she intended to apologize, McKinney refused to comment. A news conference scheduled for Friday morning was canceled. She issued a statement late Wednesday saying she regretted the confrontation.

"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 in the statement on her Web site.

Capitol Police were considering Thursday whether to ask the U.S. Attorney's office to file charges against McKinney, a Democrat who represents Atlanta suburbs that make up one of Georgia's two black- majority districts.

Democrats and Republicans, meanwhile, engaged in a rhetorical scuffle over the incident.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday labeled it "a mistake, an unfortunate lack of recognition of a member of Congress." She added that the police officer was not at fault.
"I would not make a big deal of this," said Pelosi, D-Calif.

Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., responded: "How many officers would have to be punched before it becomes a big deal?"

Full Story: AP News.

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