The father of a student who was shot and killed during the Parkland high school massacre in 2018 was ejected from a congressional committee hearing on gun regulations Thursday and was then pinned, cuffed, and arrested by Capitol Police in the hallway for his actions.
(Video Credit: WPLG Local 10)
Manuel Oliver and his wife were both ejected from the hearing for outbursts. The activist father also wound up getting arrested. The parents are strong advocates for gun control.
Video is circulating on social media showing the irate father on the ground as Capitol Police handcuffed him. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) was also at the scene of the arrest declaring Oliver wasn’t violent and later tweeted, “Here is @manueloliver00 being arrested for speaking out at a committee hearing. His son, Jaoquin, was shot to death in Parkland, Fl. MANNY IS A HERO. He didn’t deserve this. The Republican Chair of this committee just called him a narcissist. Disgraceful.”
The chair of the hearing Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) told reporters after it ended that members of the public “were disruptive during the hearing.”
“We asked Capitol Police to remove them. They were then removed and then one decided to come back in while we were still gaveled in and disrupted the hearing. That’s when we had a recess. Capitol Police were overwhelmed outside in the hallway and now we’re back in session,” he stated.
Here is @manueloliver00 being arrested for speaking out at a committee hearing. His son, Jaoquin, was shot to death in Parkland, Fl.
MANNY IS A HERO. He didn’t deserve this. The Republican Chair of this committee just called him a narcissist. Disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/6jccYvesHb
— Maxwell Alejandro Frost (@MaxwellFrostFL) March 23, 2023
a House hearing on guns is disrupted by demonstrators pic.twitter.com/0xn0L5ynlg
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 23, 2023
“You took away my son,” Patricia Oliver shouted over Fallon talking about gun violence rates in Mexico compared to the US during the hearing. The outburst warranted her ejection according to Politico.
“You’re removed. You’re breaching protocol and disorder in the committee room,” Fallon told her. After Joaquin Oliver’s death, his parents co-founded a gun reform group and have previously staged civil disobedience actions.
According to NBC News, prior to the arrest of Manuel Oliver, Fallon looked across the room and said, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another Jan. 6, do we?”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) interjected, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they ought to be held to the same standard. But I think they’re trying to express their views.”
For @patriciapadauy and me, getting arrested is totally irrelevant. What really offends us is the fact that chairman @FallonForTexas allowed lie after lie in order to protect the gun industry's ambitious strategy. Our son Joaquin still has a voice and he will use it whenever is… pic.twitter.com/jN3iMy9Cva
— Manuel Oliver (@manueloliver00) March 23, 2023
Fallon clapped back and told Cicilline he was “out of line.”
As Fallon continued to speak, he was interrupted again and he asked, “Does the Capitol Police not do their jobs? What the hell’s going on?”
He then recessed the hearing, before Oliver was subsequently arrested.
Capitol Police commented in a statement over the incident, “Around noon, a man was arrested for D.C. Code §22-1307 (crowding, obstructing, or incommoding) after he disrupted a hearing.”
Punchbowl Congress reporter Mica Soellner was conveniently on hand to document the arrest. She tweeted, “About a dozen officers have come as backup. Chants of ‘he’s not violent’ are breaking out.”
About a dozen officers have come as backup. Chants of “he’s not violent” are breaking out https://t.co/AQI7cWXtiC
— Mica Soellner (@MicaSoellnerDC) March 23, 2023
In a statement that was released by the Capitol Police, a spokesperson said that Oliver was arrested because he “refused to stop shouting” after he was removed and “then attempted to go back inside the hearing room.”
“This is a citation release arrest, which means the man was not put in jail,” the spokesperson recounted, adding that a “woman who also disrupted the hearing was not arrested because she followed the lawful directions of our officers.”
ABC News reporter Will Steakin wrote on Twitter, “Manuel and Patricia Oliver were removed from the hearing room I heard a loud thud outside the room, ran out, and saw officers pinning Manuel to the ground Rep Frost ran out shortly after.”
More video of @manueloliver00 arrest: https://t.co/MNR7Y9o2za pic.twitter.com/h3ULicvUHb
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) March 23, 2023
According to WTSP, he also stated, “Manuel and Patricia Oliver were just kicked out of this committee hearing on gun violence. Patricia said one thing and the chair escalated the entire situation. Then, Police arrested Manuel Oliver who lost his son in the Parkland shooting.”
The Olivers were protesting a bill in the House, HB 1543f, which would reduce the minimum age to buy a firearm in Florida. Another bill, CS/HB 543 would make sweeping changes to gun laws that include legalizing concealed carry without a permit and would allow armed “guardians” in private schools.
Representative Bobby Payne, who is a sponsor of the bills, issued a statement regarding the proposed legislation that would reduce the minimum age to purchase a firearm.
“I filed HB 1543 to ensure all law-abiding adults in Florida can exercise their constitutional rights,” Payne said in a statement.
“Because long guns (shotguns and rifles) can be gifted to 18-20-year-olds but cannot be purchased by them, this bill ensures that the Second Amendment rights of all Floridians are no longer conditional on the rights of others. Currently, Florida is among only a handful of states, like Hawaii and New York, who limit long gun sales to those 21 and up. HB 1543 fixes that, reclaiming law-abiding Floridians’ constitutional liberty,” he declared.
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