On Monday a large group of protestors showed up at the Texas Capitol in Austin to protest against the state’s new sanctuary city law.
— Raven Ambers (@ravenambers) May 29, 2017
According to the Texas Tribune, Texas state Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) had a heated exchange on the state House floor with several Democrats.
Rinaldi said he would “shoot” a Democratic colleague “in self defense” after he said Rep. Alfonso Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pas) supposedly threatened him.
“Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said, ‘I am illegal and here to stay,’” he wrote Monday on Facebook. “Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement.”
“When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero [Jr.] [D-Fort Worth] physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues,” Rinaldi continued. “During that time, Poncho told me that he would ‘get me on the way to my car.’”
“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.”
Romero proved the claims to be false, tweeting, “Claims of assault are completely baseless.”
— Ramon Romero Jr. (@RepRamonRomero) May 29, 2017
According to several members of the House, Rinaldi also told a group of Hispanic lawmakers that he had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on the protesters.
“He came up to us and said, ‘I’m glad I just called ICE to have all these people deported,’” state Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) told the Texas Tribune.
Rinaldi, apparently scared, called ICE because he had no idea on how to handle such a large group of protestors.
“A lot of people had signs that said, ‘We are illegal and here to stay,'” he told the paper. “And we called law enforcement trying to incentivize them to leave the House. They were disrupting. They were breaking the law.”
He said he was “pushed, jostled and someone threatened to kill me. It was basically just bullying.”
Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. (D-Fort Worth) was not happy with Rinaldi’s action, saying that the lawmaker “gave the perfect example of why there’s a problem with SB 4,” which says cities and counties must cooperate with federal immigration authorities that request law enforcement agencies detain people suspected of being undocumented.
“Matt Rinaldi looked into the gallery and saw Hispanic people and automatically assumed they were undocumented. He racial profiled every single person that was in the gallery today. He created the scenario that so many of us fear,” Romero added.