TAMPA (WFLA) – A House Judiciary Committee hearing on a Democratic-backed police reform bill Wednesday erupted into a shouting match over race between Reps. Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Richmond opened his remarks on the markup of the Justice in Police Act by saying he was “offended and angry as hell” by Republicans who wanted to inject needless amendments into the bill.
“You all are white men who have never lived in my shoes, and you do not know what it is like to be an African American male,” said Richmond. “And if you are opposed, let’s just have the vote. But please do not come into this committee and make a mockery of the pain that exists in my community.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz tried to close the argument by arguing “I appreciate your passion, are you suggesting none of us have non-white children?”
Richmond acknowledged that he knows Republicans on the committee who “have black grandchildren,” but he added, “It is about black males, black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I am concerned about them, too. And clearly I am more concerned about him than you are.”
Gaetz then responded to Richmond: “You are claiming you have more concern for your family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are? That is outrageous.”
“Was that a nerve?” Richmond responded.
“You’re damn right that was a nerve,” Gaetz said before Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chair of the committee, called for order.
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