By Josephine Hearn - 05/18/06 12:00 AM EDT
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), who could face criminal charges for striking a Capitol Police officer at a security checkpoint in March, has signed on to a resolution commending the police force for its “courage and professionalism.”
Despite having maintained at the time of the incident that the officer touched her inappropriately and that he had failed in his duty to recognize her as a member of Congress, McKinney became a co-sponsor Tuesday of H.R. 756, which praises the force for providing “courteous, responsible and diligent services” and treating members “with dignity and respect.”
The news, first reported by Atlanta television station WSB-TV, was the latest about-face for the Georgia lawmaker, who was at first spectacularly outspoken about the checkpoint scuffle, charging the officer with racial profiling. Within days, though, as the matter came before a grand jury for possible criminal prosecution, McKinney changed course and apologized for the incident on the House floor.
The original co-sponsors of the resolution are Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.).
McKinney came to the defense of the Capitol Police in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks when officers were asked to work longer hours. In a letter to then-House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood, she complained about low morale on the force.
“I am very concerned about the complaints that many officers have made, and I am particularly disturbed by the low morale that appears to be widespread throughout the department, apparently caused by an unfavorable work environment,” McKinney reportedly wrote.