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Police Chief Pins Blame On McKinney

U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) (R) makes a statement at a meeting of the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. April 3, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. McKinney did not take questions about her alleged altercation with a Capitol police officer in Washington, DC, last week.
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U. S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said Wednesday that Rep. Cynthia McKinney turned an officer's failure to recognize her into a criminal matter when she failed to stop at his request, and then struck him.

"He reached out and grabbed her and she turned around and hit him," Gainer said on CNN. "Even the high and the haughty should be able to stop and say, 'I'm a congressman' and then everybody moves on."

"This is not about personality," added House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "It's not about racial profiling. It's about making this place safer."

For her part, McKinney wasn't backing down from the argument. She charged anew that racism is behind what she said is a pattern of difficulty in clearing Hill security checkpoints.

"This has become much ado about a hairdo," she told CBS News' The Early Show. McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, recently dropped her trademark cornrows in favor of a curly brown afro.

The police aren't the ones who are racist, one Republican said.

"Cynthia McKinney is a racist," Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," a day after abandoning his reelection bid under a cloud of ethics charges. "She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her. This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."

"She misbehaved, made a mistake and now she's trying to defend an error in her own judgment," said Ryan Loskarn, press secretary for Rep. Marsha Blackburn's, R-Tenn., of McKinney's backlash after her run-in with police last week.