The Texas state House’s legislative session ended in disarray yesterday. Republican representative Matt Rinaldi announced that he had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on protesters who held signs that read “I am illegal and here to stay,” and verbal and physical altercations erupted on the House floor.
The protests were a last-ditch effort to convince legislators to halt SB 4, a bill that bans sanctuary cities in Texas, from going into effect on September 1. Hundreds of people flooded the House gallery with identical red shirts that said, “Fight Back, No SB 4.” “Undocumented and afraid,” they chanted.
After Rinaldi told his colleagues that he had called ICE on the protesters, whom he believed to be in the country illegally, he alleges that Democratic representative Poncho Nevarez threatened to “get [him] on the way to [his] car.” Here is the video in which Poncho allegedly threatened Rinaldi.
VIDEO: Lawmakers in Texas House scuffle during #SINEDIE on Monday.
— KVUE News (@KVUE) May 29, 2017
Nevarez “later approached me and reiterated that ‘I had to leave at some point, and he would get me,’” Rinaldi explained in a statement. “I made it clear that if [Nevarez] attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense.”
Nevarez told the Texas Tribune that Nevarez’s account is false; he was simply telling Rinaldi that they should take the argument outside. “Was I going to shoot the guy? No,” he said.