The father of a Parkland, Florida, shooting victim was arrested on Capitol Hill while protesting Republicans speaking out against gun control in a Congressional hearing.
Manuel Oliver, who lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin when a gunman opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, was on the Hill Thursday with his wife Patricia and other gun control advocates. After Republican Rep. Pat Fallon requested his wife be removed from the hearing, Manual was pinned down by two Capitol officers in the hallway, video shows. What led to that isn’t shown.
“Let my husband go,” Patricia tells the officers, according to the video.
Florida state Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democrat and school shooting survivor, caught the end of Manual’s arrest on video and decried the actions of the Capitol Police and the Republican Party.
“MANNY IS A HERO. He didn’t deserve this,” wrote Frost. “The Republican Chair of this committee just called him a narcissist. Disgraceful.”
Manuel did not respond immediately to a VICE News request for comment. Capitol Police told VICE News in a statement that he was arrested “after he disrupted a hearing, refused to stop shouting, and then attempted to go back inside the hearing room.” They cited a rule that states someone cannot demonstrate in the Capitol building after being told to stop.
“This is a citation release arrest, which means the man was not put in jail,” it read. “It should be noted that a woman who also disrupted the hearing was not arrested because she followed the lawful directions of our officers.”
The situation started when Patricia Oliver was giving a speech about the violent loss of her son and how gun control could have stopped it.
“You took my son away from me,” she yelled at the Republican lawmakers. Sixteen other people, both students and teachers, were killed in the school shooting as well.
That’s when Fallon said: “Officers, can we have this woman removed?”
Fallon later said he didn’t know who was speaking when he made the request. Frost, however, accused Fallon of escalating the situation rather than giving Patricia a warning.
The hearing the Olivers were protesting was called the “ATF’s Assault on the Second Amendment: When Is Enough Enough?” Everytown, a gun control nonprofit present at the hearing, described it on Twitter as not being “about the Second Amendment.”
“This is an attack by gun extremists in Congress on the federal law enforcement agency responsible for preventing & solving gun crimes,” the statement continued.
In the video of the hearing, pro-gun control protestors can be heard yelling “fuck you” from outside the room, causing Fallon to make several jokes.
“Is this an insurrection?” Fallon jokes, “I don’t want another Jan. 6 …. Does the Capitol Police not do their jobs? What the hell is going on?”
The hearing then went into recess, and the arrest occurred shortly thereafter.
Previously in the day Manual tweeted he was “inside a hearing in DC” and that it was “incredible how republicans decided to attack the ATF over America’s gun violence epidemic.“
“It is so obvious their role as Gun Industry’s little bitches!” he tweeted.
After Manuel’s arrest, Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democratic from California, brought up the advocates' detainment during his time in the hearing. He said the politicians need to show more “human empathy for families that have faced enormous grief.”
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