A recent Capitol Hill collision drove a confrontation between Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Capitol Police.
On June 17 at around 1:45 p.m., Jackson Lee's chief of staff had a minor traffic accident on the House side of the Capitol grounds. Glenn E. Rushing, 49, backed a gray Nissan SUV into a Capitol Police officer who was posted near the barricades at New Jersey and Independence avenues Southeast, according to a June 17 police report obtained by CQ Roll Call .
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The Texas Democrat wasn't in the car at the time. But a tipster said Rushing's boss showed up on the scene not long after a police cruiser responded, and she demanded contact information for Chief Kim C. Dine.
"What happened?" Jackson Lee asked when she arrived, according to an unofficial transcript from sources on the scene. "This is ludicrous. I am tired of Capitol Police harassing me and my staff. Who do I talk to about this?"
The congresswoman allegedly asked two officers who had responded for crash investigation purposes (taking photos, filling out a police report) who was hurt. One pointed to Terry Absher, a 47-year-old officer whose right arm was struck near the elbow by Rushing's vehicle.
Jackson Lee allegedly walked over and asked, "Are you alright?"
"Yes, I'm alright," Absher stated, according to the play-by-play. No injuries were documented in the police report, but a hand-drawn diagram of the accident shows the car colliding with the right side of the officer's body.
The congresswoman responded: "You don't look hurt. Where are you hurt?"
She walked over to Absher's right side and examined his arm, according to the tipster's account. Jackson Lee then turned her attention to Rushing, her chief of staff since 2011, according to Legistorm. She reportedly didn't say another word to the police.
When CQ Roll Call asked about the accident a few hours after it occurred, Jackson Lee's office denied the account. Jackson Lee was not in the car — no officer had been hit — and Jackson Lee "actually walked to the Capitol today around the time you say this incident happened," Rushing said through a spokesman the day of the incident in question.
After obtaining the police report, CQ Roll Call approached Jackson Lee with questions in the hallway outside the House chamber.
“I don’t have any information for you. Thank you, sweetie,” Jackson Lee said repeatedly.
On Wednesday, a spokesman offered this brief statement from the congresswoman: “This particular matter with Capitol Police is between my Chief of Staff and the Officer. I was not in the car at the time.”
A few hours later, the spokesman forwarded a statement from Rushing: "Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was not in the vehicle and has no knowledge of the facts regarding the incident."
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