A congressman was escorted off the House floor after donning a hooded sweatshirt in protest of the killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American Florida teen.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was forced off the House floor after giving a speech in which he denounced the sort of racial profiling which appears to have led to 17-year-old Martin being gunned down in his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood.
Martin’s death has sparked national outrage and protest, as well as multiple investigations into the incident — including a federal probe by the Justice Department. The alleged shooter in the incident remains free and hasn’t been charged, due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute. That state law has come under intense scrutiny since Martin’s death.
“Just because someone wears a hoodie, does not make them a hoodlum. Just because someone is young and wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. Just because someone is a young black male and wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum,” says Rush, a member of Congress for 20 years, and also an African-American. “A hood on the head does not mean a hood in the head.”
Rush began quoting Bible verse, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and dark sunglasses.
He finished by saying, “I urge all who hear these words to heed this lesson. May God bless Trayvon Martin’s soul, his parents and family, and may God bless us all.”
The presiding officer of the House began gaveling Rush out of order almost immediately after Rush pulled his hood up over his head, because House rules ban the wearing of hats.
Shortly thereafter, the lawmaker was escorted off the floor.
WATCH VIDEO OF THE RUSH SPEECH HERE:
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.