A Black nonbinary Democratic representative in the Oklahoma House of Representatives was censured after House Republicans accused her of impeding a law enforcement investigation into an assault on a fellow House member and a state trooper during a protest over transgender rights in the Capitol last month.
Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, allegedly hid a person in her office who had thrown water at Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah, after the House passed a bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors on Feb. 28.
House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said in a statement that Turner allegedly rejected multiple requests by law enforcement to question the individual.
“This member knowingly and willfully impeded a law enforcement investigation, harboring a fugitive and repeatedly lying to officers, and used their official office and position to thwart attempts by law enforcement to make contact with a suspect of the investigation,” McCall said. “I want to make something very clear: I will not allow members of the House of Representatives to use their House-assigned offices and official positions to impede law enforcement from carrying out investigations or making arrests in the State Capitol.
“The inappropriate and potentially criminal actions exhibited by this member of the House were deserving of censure, and the actions taken by the House today were both measured and just,” the statement continued.
As part of the censure motion, Turner was offered the chance to apologize and the issue would be dropped.
Turner said that wasn’t going to happen.
“I think an apology for loving the people of Oklahoma is something that I cannot do,” said Turner, while flanked by several Democratic colleagues. “It’s something that I actively refuse to do.”
Recent efforts by the GOP-controlled legislature to prohibit gender-affirming medical care for transgender children and pass other anti-transgender legislation have led to several protests at the Capitol, according to The Associated Press.
The AP said a protester allegedly poured water on a state representative and scuffled with a trooper before being arrested at a protest.
Turner is the first nonbinary state lawmaker in U.S. history and Oklahoma’s first Muslim legislator, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
State House Democratic Leader Rep. Cyndi Munson called the censure vote “absolutely embarrassing.”
“It’s clear what they’re trying to do is silence a member who does not think like them, act like them, dress like them, who challenges their positions, especially when they are running legislation to harm people in our community,” Munson said, according to AP.
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