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Rep. Richmond strikes a 'nerve' during House Judiciary Committee hearing while advocating for police reform

"Matt, Matt, stop," Richmond said. "I'm not about to get sidetracked... We're talking about black people in the streets that are getting killed."
Credit: AP
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)

NEW ORLEANS — A hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on police reform Wednesday got out of hand when Lousiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz had a shouting match.

During the hearing, Richmond, who represents most of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, said he was wasn't interested then in studying Antifa, or sovereign citizens or the Ku Klux Klan because "that is not the imminent threat that black men face on a daily basis."

"Right now, too often, it is law enforcement — those who were sworn to protect and to serve, and so, all we are asking today is to deal with that," Richmond said.

Richmond talked about the injustice that black people like him and his son face, and Gaetz, who represents the Florida Panhandle area including Pensacola, interjected.

Gaetz who is white asked Richmond "Are you suggesting that you're certain none of us have nonwhite children because you reflect on your black son and you said none of us could understand?"

Richmond reclaimed his time, saying "Matt, Matt, stop. I'm not about to get sidetracked about the color of our children. We're talking about black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I'm concerned about him too. And clearly I'm more concerned about him than you are. so let me be clear about that."

"You're claiming you have more concern for my family than I do?" Gaetz yelled back. "Who in the hell do you think you are? This is outrageous."

"If the shoe fits," Richmond responded as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler instructed Gaetz to stand down and let Richmond reclaim his speaking time.

"Was that a nerve?" Richmond said, appearing to taunt Gaetz.

"Yeah, you're damn right it was a nerve," Gaetz responded.

Representing the 2nd District of Louisiana, an area that includes parts of Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. Charles,  East and West Baton Rouge parishes, and all of St. James parish, Richmond serves a constituency that is 62.9% black,  according to the most recent census data

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