Almost three weeks after the first subpoena was issued in the grand jury investigation of Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s (D-Ga.) alleged assault on a Capitol Police officer, no charges have been filed yet and an official with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday that no action was expected Tuesday.
Although the office would not comment further on a time frame for a decision, the investigation is proceeding. According to a source familiar with the case, the officer involved in the incident, Paul McKenna, testified before the grand jury within the past week.
Additional witnesses to the incident have been subpoenaed by the grand jury as well, according to House insiders. The subpoenas are expected to be announced on the House floor as early as today.
A grand jury investigation into the matter does not necessarily mean McKinney will be charged with any crime, but it could potentially lead to charges and the issuance of an arrest warrant. Several high-ranking House officials have said that if a warrant for McKinney is issued, arrangements would likely be made for her to turn herself in voluntarily.
“We’re very concerned about this case and we just can’t figure out why [the grand jury investigation] is taking so long,” said Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers. Canterbury had been on Capitol Hill earlier this month praising the professionalism of the Capitol Police and condemning McKinney’s actions in the incident.
“This is an extraordinary amount of time for an investigation into a situation that wasn’t a drawn-out event or ongoing situation. It was an incident that occurred in a very short amount of time,” Canterbury said. “We’re following it on a daily basis.”
In addition to McKenna, at least two Congressional staffers have also been subpoenaed by the grand jury. A week after the March 29 incident occurred, an aide for Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and another for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) each received subpoenas from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to testify in the case.
According to the Capitol Police report filed after the March 29 incident, the alleged assault occurred just before 9 a.m. at a door to the Longworth House Office Building. The event was classified as an “assault on a police officer” in the report, which states that McKenna, “while performing his official duties as United States Capitol Police Officer and in full uniform, stated that he was physically assaulted” by McKinney “in the chest with a closed fist.”
Initially, McKinney had blamed McKenna, who is white, for the incident because he did not recognize her as a Congresswoman and confronted her after she circumvented the security checkpoint, as is her privilege. In days following the incident, McKinney used press conferences and media appearances to question Capitol Police security procedures and whether she was a victim of racial profiling.
But on April 6, McKinney took to the House floor to apologize. She said that “there should not have been any physical contact in this incident. I have always supported law enforcement. ... I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all, and I regret its escalation. And I apologize.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.