The fight for police reform is heating up, and it’s hitting some nerves in the House of Representatives. On Wednesday, tempers flared during a House hearing on the matter, and it left Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond at odds with his Republican colleague Matt Gaetz.
During the gathering of the House Judiciary Committee, Richmond expressed his frustrations with GOP members of Congress who were attempting to dilute the bill backed by Democrats with amendments pertaining to far-left political movement Antifa and other irrelevant issues that didn’t speak to the heart of the Justice in Policing Act.
“I’m offended and angry as hell,” Richmond said about Republicans’ efforts to thwart the measure. After which he warned his “good friends” on the other side of the aisle that “by the time I’m finished, you will be clear that we are not good friends.”
“As a Black male who went to the fifth best public high school in the country, who was a victim of excessive force, who has a Black son, who has worries that you all don’t, and to my colleagues—especially the ones that keep introducing amendments that are a tangent and a distraction from what we’re talking about— you all are White males, you never lived in my shoes and you do not know what it’s like to be an African-American male,” he said.
Richmond continued airing his grievances, adding, “All I’m saying is, if you are opposed to this legislation, let’s just have the vote, but please do not come in this committee room and make a mockery of the pain that exists in my community.”
For reasons unknown, Gaetz (R-FL) believed that a proper follow-up to Richmond’s impassioned plea was to ask the former CBC chair if he was suggesting that none of his Republican colleagues had Black sons. It was an obviously moot point that led Richmond to reclaim his time.
“It is not about the color of your kids,” Richmond argued, recentering the discussion around Black lives being taken at the hands of the police. “And if one of them happens to be your kid,” Richmond added, “I’m concerned about him too, and clearly I’m more concerned about him than you are.”
The comments triggered Gaetz, who is unmarried and without children. He attempted to take Richmond on, yelling across the House floor, “You’re claiming you have more concern about my family than I do. Who in the hell do you think you are?”
Richmond, in the most unbothered of tones, responded to Gaetz’s theatrics by simply saying, “If the shoe fits… A kicked dog hollers,” before calmly asking, “Was that a nerve?”