'Did I strike a nerve?': Demings, Jordan have heated exchange over law enforcement

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A shouting match erupted at Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing on a hate crimes bill between Reps. Val Demings, D-Fla., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Demings was criticizing an amendment introduced by Republicans that would prevent defunding of police departments, even though the bill it was seeking to amend doesn't include a provision to take funds away from law enforcement.

Called the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, the legislation seeks to provide incentives for reporting hate crimes, boost funding to state-run hate crime hotlines and increase penalties for people convicted under current hate crime statutes.

Demings said the amendment was "completely irrelevant."

"I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years," said Demings, the former police chief in Orlando. "It is a tough job, and good police officers deserve your support. You know, it's interesting to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support the police when it is politically convenient to do so."

That's when Jordan cut into her speech, prompting Demings to raise her voice and slam her hand on the table.

"I have the floor, Mr. Jordan," she yelled. "What? Did I strike a nerve?"

She added, "Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns, and you and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves."

The chairman of the committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., swiftly intervened and banged his gavel to tell Demings and Jordan not to interrupt each other, but they continued to shout over him.

Jordan tried to ask for a point of order to properly respond to Demings, but Nadler overruled him and allowed Demings to finish her part of the debate on the amendment.

Last week, Jordan got into a similar shouting match with Reps. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., during a hearing about the coronavirus with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Waters told Jordan to "shut your mouth" when he began shouting questions at Fauci when it wasn't his turn to speak over the objections of Clyburn, the chair of the panel.