State Watch

Black Arkansas lawmaker is told ‘you need to stop’ by white colleague

A black Arkansas lawmaker made national headlines after she made impassioned remarks to her white colleagues about a proposed “stand your ground” law.

During a debate Wednesday about Senate Bill 484, which sought to eliminate the “duty to retreat” from self-defense laws in Arkansas, state Rep. Stephanie Flowers (D) is seen raising her voice as she pleaded against efforts by members of the state Judiciary Committee to limit debate on the measure, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

{mosads}”My son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time,” Flowers, who is the only black person serving on the eight-member committee, said to her colleagues. “When you bring crap like this up, it offends me.”

According to the newspaper, lawmakers in the state have tried to pass similar “stand your ground” laws for nearly a decade. But such measures have failed under both Democratic-led and Republican-led legislatures.

As Flowers tried to explain why more discussion was needed on the matter, one lawmaker on the committee attempted to silence her.

Sen. Alan Clark (R), the chairman of the committee, could be seen telling Flowers: “Senator, you need to stop.”

“No, I don’t,” Flowers replied.

“Yes, you do,” Clark said.

“No, the hell I don’t. What are you going to do, shoot me?” Flowers said in response.

Flowers then reportedly exited the committee room shortly after the heated exchange to smoke a cigarette. When she returned, Clark reportedly said that no action would be taken against her for the debate.

A video of the debate later went viral on social media. One video of the heated exchange shared by NowThis on Friday racked up more than 362,000 views and nearly 30,000 reactions.

The proposed measure went on to fail in the GOP-controlled committee in a 4-3 vote.

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