Did McKinney's Afro Confuse Police?

Today the U.S. Capitol Police asked for an arrest warrant for Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D.-Ga.) for assaulting a police officer who failed to recognize her as a member of Congress. But the larger question might be: Are the Capitol Police at fault for not recognizing her?

McKinney, whose hair is usually styled in braids, wore a traditional “afro” that day and was not wearing her lapel pin that identifies her as one of the 535 members of Congress. (See the before, left, and after photos below.)

When she attempted to sidestep a metal detector, as members are permitted to do, she was asked three times by a police offer to stop, but she ignored his requests.

The officer allegedly proceeded to tap her shoulder; McKinney responded by hitting the officer with her cell phone.

McKinney maintains she was “touched inappropriately” with “excessive force” and that her actions were “instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman.”

She held a press conference this morning in Atlanta with the Concerned Black Clergy and black state legislators at the Community Church of God, but did not address the altercation and reporters were not permitted to ask any questions at the event.

Last week she appeared at Howard University alongside Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. Glover said, “She alone has stood up for issues that are important to this country and important to the world. We’re not here to judge the merits of the case; we’re here to support our sister.”