WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) donned a hoodie during a speech on the House floor Wednesday deploring the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, receiving a reprimand for violating rules on wearing hats in the House chamber.
The Illinois Democrat spoke out against racial profiling and, as he removed his suit coat and pulled the hood on the sweatshirt he was wearing underneath over his head, saying “just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
Rush was interrupted by the presiding officer, Mississippi Republican Gregg Harper, who reminded him that the wearing of hats was not allowed and “members need to remove their hoods or leave the floor.”
On Tuesday the 17-year-old Martin’s parents spoke on Capitol Hill at a Democratic-sponsored panel on racial profiling.
Rush founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers in 1968 and served six months in prison for illegal possession of weapons when he was in his 20s. He went on to get a political science degree from Chicago’s Roosevelt University, won a seat on Chicago’s city council in 1983 and was elected to Congress from Chicago’s South Side in 1992. In 2000 he defeated Barack Obama, then a state senator, in a primary battle for Rush’s seat.
Rush lost a son to a shooting in 1999 and has been a strong advocate for victims of gun violence.
Martin was returning from a trip to a convenience store when George Zimmerman started following him, telling police dispatchers he looked suspicious. At some point, the two got into a fight, and Zimmerman pulled out his gun.
Zimmerman told police Martin attacked him after he had given up on chasing the teenager and was returning to his sport utility vehicle.
The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation, and a grand jury is considering whether to charge George Zimmerman, who acknowledged shooting the teen but said it was in self-defense. Martin’s parents, civil rights activists and others who have rallied to the cause say they won’t be satisfied until Zimmerman is arrested.
Zimmerman has ties to the Washington area, having graduated from Osbourn Park High School in Manassas .
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