Protestors And Threats Spark Scuffle On Floor of Texas House
There was a scuffle on the floor of the Texas House after one lawmaker says he called ICE on protestors holding signs saying they were illegal.
Tensions were high at the state capitol Monday afternoon after a Texas Republican threatened to shoot another lawmaker during a scuffle on the House Floor. Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered at the state capitol to protest Senate Bill 4 (SB4). Senate Bill 4 The bill was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month and is aimed at sanctuary cities in the state. Demonstrators wore red shirts emblazoned with the word "lucha" on them and held signs that said "see you at the polls" and "I am illegal and here to stay." According to ABC News, the protestors were also chanting Here to stay!" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go." The session was stopped so protestors could be led out of the gallery which they did peacefully and with no arrests. According to the Texas Tribune, house rules state that the gallery can't show bias for or against bills which the gallery was doing, thus why they were escorted out.
While this was happening, Representative Ramon Romero Jr (D) was standing with Representative Cesar Blanco (D) when Representative Matt Rinaldi (R) came over and told Romero "This is BS. That's why I called ICE." After this statement, Romero and Rinaldi began shouting at each other before fellow lawmakers had to separate the two. It was during this time that Rinaldi allegedly threatened to "put a bullet in the head" of another Democrat, Representative Poncho Nevarez, during a secondary scuffle.
After the event, Democrats also held a press conference to give their side of the story and discuss the threats made against a lawmaker.
After the press conference, Representative Rinaldi went to Facebook to give his account of events:
Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said "I am illegal and here to stay." Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues. During that time Poncho told me that he would "get me on the way to my car." He later approached me and reiterated that "I had to leave at some point, and he would get me." I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, "get me," I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.
Read more about this at the Texas Tribune.