- Reps. Val Demings and Jim Jordan engaged in a heated shouting match over policing.
- The argument came hours before a jury convicted Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
- Demings accused Republicans of backing law enforcement when it’s “politically convenient” and added, “What, did I strike a nerve?”
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Democratic Rep. Val Demings and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan got into a shouting match about policing in the US on Tuesday, just hours before a jury convicted the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
The argument came during a committee debate over the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would direct the Department of Justice to expedite the review of coronavirus-related hate crimes and improve public reporting on hate crimes during the pandemic.
Demings had the floor and was criticizing Republicans over an amendment they introduced aimed at preventing efforts to defund the police, a platform supported by many progressive activists and lawmakers.
“I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “It is a tough job, and good police officers deserve your support.”
She then accused Republicans of supporting police officers “when it’s politically convenient to do so,” adding, “Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better.”
“The American people deserve better,” Demings went on, before Jordan appeared to interrupt her. “I have the floor, Mr. Jordan,” Demings said as she spoke over the Ohio congressman. “What, did I strike a nerve?”
At that point, the committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, banged his gavel and repeatedly called for Demings to suspend her speaking because she was over her time.
“Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns,” Demings went on, even as Nadler continued banging the gavel. “You and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves!”
Nadler then admonished Jordan, saying members “must not interrupt someone who has the time.” He went on to say that Jordan “simply can’t shout out” because he disagrees with another lawmaker, to which Jordan replied, “I agree.”
Demings then told Jordan he didn’t know “what in the heck you’re talking about.” She added: “You know nothing about what law enforcement officers do, and you’re using them as pawns because it serves your ridiculous political purposes.”
“I know about my motive,” Jordan shot back.
“Everyone will suspend,” Nadler said as Demings spoke over Jordan. “I am making the point: no one may shout out when someone else has the time.”
Jordan then appeared to suggest that Nadler was singling out Republican lawmakers and said Democrats had also interrupted other members while they were speaking.
“When you give a speech, Mr. Chairman, about motives and questioning motives, when our motives are questioned, how do we address that?” Jordan said.
“This is emotionally charged,” Demings said, adding, “I have watched them live and die and you know nothing about that. And to use them as political pawns pisses me off.”
The Democratic lawmaker also pointed out that she saw little Republican support for police officers on January 6, during the deadly Capitol insurrection after which five people died and multiple Capitol Police officers were injured.
Those officers “were fighting for their lives because of the Big Lie that was told, and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were silent,” Demings continued, referring to former President Donald Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories about election-rigging and voter fraud.
Watch the exchange below:
-Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) April 20, 2021