Source: McKinney fiasco shakes Capitol Police, officer knew her
By Robert "Rob" Redding Jr.
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2006, (Updated at 10:00 a.m., April 19) - A source said an officer, who says Rep. Cynthia McKinney struck him in the chest with a closed fist, knew who she was, and claims the incident has caused infighting among U.S. Capitol Police.
The source, who is close to the ongoing grand jury investigation of the March 29 scuffle, said Paul McKenna, a third year officer in the U.S. Capitol Police, was given a picture of the congresswoman in training.
"No one believes that a man with a name that similar to hers would not know who she is," the source told Redding News Review. "He clearly knew who she was and what she looked like but stopped her anyway."
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McKinney faces charges that she assaulted McKenna, who the source says is white, while entering a House office building last month. The Democrat, who has changed her hairstyle from her trademark cornrows, has said she was not wearing proper identification.
She has since apologized for the misunderstanding, which she first hinted may have been racism.
The source - who did not want to be identified in fear that they might lose their job - also said that the incident has resulted in "fighting and heated arguments between white and black officers."
"This case is tearing the department apart," the source said. "The blacks say the whites were screwing with her, but the white officers are saying that she should have stopped."
Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, denies that there is dissention among black and white officers.
"It sounds more like gossip rather than fact," said the spokeswoman, who would not deny whether officers had been recently reprimanded for fighting.
She also referred all question about whether McKinney was recognized by McKenna to the U.S. Attorney's office, which is investigating the case.
The department, which protects Congress, has had a history of rifts between its black and white officers dating back to 2001. There is currently a class action complaint still pending.
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