Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was escorted off the floor of the House of Representatives this morning after he shed his suit jacket and pulled up the hood of the hoodie he was wearing underneath it.
"Just because someone wears a hoodie, does not make them a hoodlum," he said, as the congressman acting as speaker pounded his gavel and warned that "the member is no longer recognized."
Rush, a black congressman from Chicago, was protesting the investigation of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death. Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee held a forum on racial profiling Tuesday that featured as guests the teen's parents.
Trayvon was shot to death last month while serving out a school suspension in the central Florida city of Sanford, where his father's girlfriend lives. A neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, called police to say he saw someone in a hooded sweatshirt who looked high on drugs and was suspicious because he walked too slowly in the rain.
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Tuesday's forum was sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. No Republicans participated. The forum didn't examine any particular legislation, but it did give nearly 20 members of Congress an opportunity to focus on the role of the federal government in addressing racial profiling and prosecuting hate crimes.
After Rush left the floor of the House, the speaker reminded members of Clause 5 of rule 17 on house decorum: No hats. "The donning of a hood is not consistent with this rule," he said.