Rep. Rush Kicked Off House Floor For Wearing Hoodie
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Updated 03/28/12 – 4:21 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) was kicked off the House floor Wednesday morning for wearing a hoodie in protest of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
As CBS 2’s Kris Gutierrez reports, Rush had been given five minutes to speak against racial profiling and the Martin case by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), who was presiding over the floor.
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“This violent act that resulted in the murder of Trayvon Martin is repeated in the streets of our nation. I applaud the young people all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the real hoodlums in this nation, particularly those who spread on our lawns wearing official or quasi-official clothes,” Rush said.
At that point, Rush took off his suit jacket to reveal a gray hoodie underneath. He placed the hood over his head as he continued speaking.
“Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker,” Rush said. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
Rush went on to replace his prescription eyeglasses with sunglasses, and began to quote from the Bible. He went on talking as Harper began to pound his gavel repeatedly and point out that Rush was out of dress code.
Ultimately Harper declared that Rush was “no longer recognized,” and asked the House sergeant-at-arms to escort him out for violating the House dress code.
Rush said he wanted to speak out about the Trayvon Martin case because he is outraged that there’s been no arrest yet. He told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez that standing up for justice made it worth getting the boot from the House floor.
“You know, I didn’t know what to expect. I expected the worst. I expected to be handcuffed and … dragged out by the hoodie,” Rush said. “If I had to do it all over again, I would do it without any hesitation.”
Still in his hoodie after he was kicked off the House floor, Rush said he wanted to take a stand.
“I wanted to express my outcry, my protest about the fact that there’s been no arrest in the killing of this young man in Florida,” Rush said. “I wanted to also demonstrate that the hoodie is nothing but a piece of clothing and that it should not be the cause of someone being killed because they’re a black man wearing a hoodie in a white community.”
Martin was shot and killed on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.
Martin was unarmed and was only wearing a hoodie and carrying iced tea and a bag of Skittles, but Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and has alleged he was attacked.
Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged.
The shooting has sparked outrage across the country, including in Chicago.
Rush has represented Illinois’ 1st Congressional District – largely on Chicago’s South Side – since 1993. Prior to that, he served 10 years as alderman of the 2nd Ward in the City Council.
He ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Richard M. Daley in 1999, and was unsuccessfully challenged by future President Barack Obama for his seat in Congress in 2000.
Rush’s office has not yet released a comment on his speech.