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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
US lawmaker alleges police racism
Cynthia McKinney
Ms McKinney says this issue is one of racial profiling
A US congresswoman has accused police in the nation's capital of racism after an altercation on Capitol Hill.

Police say Democrat Cynthia McKinney hit a policeman on 29 March after he stopped her at a security check in a government building.

The row has escalated, with Ms McKinney arguing that the issue is one of racial profiling at Congress' security checks.

But few lawmakers have backed Ms McKinney and counter accusations have been directed at her.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the security checks were about safety, not racial profiling.

And former Republican majority leader Tom DeLay went further, accusing Ms McKinney herself of racism. "Everything is racism with her," he said.

Hairstyle

Ms McKinney says that the policeman touched her inappropriately after failing to recognise her at the security check, causing her to act in self-defence.

She has recently changed her hairstyle and told CBS television the row was "much ado about hair-do".

Capitol Police chief Terrance Gainer told CNN the row was not the result of racism, but came about because of Ms McKinney's failure to stop when asked to identify herself.

Police say they have passed the results of an investigation to the US attorney-general, who will decide whether to file charges.


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