DC Grand Jury Refuses to Indict McKinney

A D.C. grand jury today refused to indict Rep. Cynthia McKinney for her assault on a Capitol Police officer.

A District of Columbia grand jury has declined to return an indictment against U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia, accused of assaulting Capitol Police Officer Paul McKenna in an April altercation. An incident report filed last month by the Capitol Police said McKenna was “physically assaulted” by McKinney, who hit him with a “closed fist.” The confrontation occurred at a security checkpoint in a congressional office building after McKenna failed to recognize the six-term Georgia Democrat and tried to stop her from bypassing a metal detector, which members of Congress are allowed to do.

Hardly a shocker. This is the same jury pool that acquitted Marion Barry on two sets of felony charges and then reelected him twice.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Grand juries elect mayors now?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Grand jury pools are the registered voters.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James, it is a shame when a person has to explain something as obvious as the point you made above to people who respond to your article. No wonder they are the way they are.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III: Grow up. I was kidding.

  5. Herb says:

    There is need for a complete investigation on this mis-carrage of justice.

    Or, do we live in a blacks do no wrong society in DC

  6. Christopher says:


    Great point!

  7. Sharpshooter says:

    Herb queried: “Or, do we live in a blacks do no wrong society in DC ”

    Yes, by leftist standards, in DC and just about everywhere else.

  8. g says:

    I see. The failure to indict Karl Rove vindicates him, but the failure to indict McKinney is a miscarriage of justice worthy of investigation?

    It is the same jury pool.

    And, please, how about some fact checking?

    Marion Berry is a US Representative from Arkansas. Marion Barry is the former mayor of DC.

  9. James Joyner says:

    g: Correct on Berry/Barry.

    The charges against Rove were infinitely more complicated. No one denies that McKinney struck the officer in question; not even McKinney.

  10. Hal says:

    Uh, James? At least according to this, M.B, was convicted in 1990 on one charge, acquitted on another,and 12 charges were dismissed because the judge declared a mistrial. He was accused of possesion in 2002 (no charges, apparently) and plead guilty in 2005 to an IRS investigation.

    So, I really don’t understand where your facts come from, James.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us as to what backs it up?

  11. James Joyner says:

    Hal: I verified my recollection using the same source you link.

    Barry was charged with three counts of felony perjury, 10 counts of misdemeanor drug possession, and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess cocaine; however, in October 1990, he was convicted on only one charge: a single previous misdemeanor count.

    So, he was acquitted on all felony charges, which is what I said.

  12. Herb says:

    McKinney has demonstrated that:

    “She is everything outside the circle”

  13. Hal says:

    Aquitted by mistrial, not by the jury finding him not guilty.

    He was acquitted on one possession charge and a mistrial was declared on the 12 remaining charges.

    Which is not what you said at all.

  14. James Joyner says:

    Hal: It’s all but the same thing. Presumably, the prosecutor decided it wasn’t worth bothering to try to get a conviction with a second jury.

  15. I wonder if they will release the video tape now.

  16. Hal says:

    James, you’re whole comment is a sweeping generalization based on the assertion – and you make that explicit – that the jury acquitted him. Now, not knowing why the judge ruled a mistrial. You don’t know if there was only one hold out in the jury – unless, of course, you can come up with some back up on that. Heck, you don’t even know if it was a hung jury that caused the mistrial, do you? So, absent of any actual knowledge of what was up, your broad, sweeping generalization simply equates to “it’s no surprise, given that there’s a bunch of blacks in the jury pool”. Or were you trying to imply something else about the pool of jurors? Pray, tell.

    I mean, really James. That’s pretty much the weakest defense of a slur that I’ve seen in a while.

    Perhaps we’ll all be justified in our broad, sweeping generalizations of posters at OTB, based on your own broad, sweeping generalizations based on slim to no facts.

  17. James Joyner says:


    If you’re going to challenge my factual assertions, perhaps you ought do a bit of research to present contrary information? Here’s what WaPo said in a May 21, 1998 recap:

    During his 1990 trial, Barry’s lawyer, R. Kenneth Mundy, acknowledged the mayor occasionally used cocaine. Barry was convicted of one of the 14 charges pending against him � a misdemeanor charge for possessing cocaine in November 1989. Jurors acquitted him of one of the other charges � of possessing cocaine in September 1988. On the other 12 charges, jurors were so deeply and passionately divided they could not reach a verdict. “I believe [the government was] out to get Marion Barry,” one juror said. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared a mistrial on the 12 deadlocked charges.

    It’s essentially the O.J. result. To say that urban black juries are very amenable to the “whitey set me up” defense is not a slur, it’s reality. It’s even an understandable reality, given the life experiences of many of the people who live in the inner city. But let’s not pretend that the jury pools in metropolitan centers and the suburbs behave in identical ways.

  18. Hal says:

    So, you’re asserting that the reason C.M. got off because of the OJ effect? Seems like a broad, sweeping generalization to me.

  19. Hal says:

    But I guess broad, sweeping generalizations are justified at times, I suppose.

  20. zenless says:

    Boy, the presumptiveness here is amazing. None of you were on the grand jury, you have no idea what evidence was presented, or what the basis for not returning an indictment was. Since you all were pissing and moaning when Delay was indicted that “you can indict a ham sandwich”, this means that the charges against McKinney were probably exceptionally weak. Grand juries are notorious for doing whatever a prosecutor recommends, so it’s possible the prosecutor didn’t press too hard for an indictment.

  21. McGehee says:

    Since you all were pissing and moaning when Delay was indicted that �you can indict a ham sandwich�

    Especially when you dismiss the two grand juries that refuse to indict, and try again a third time.

    So, are you saying McKinney’s turn will come, if the prosecutors do as Ronnie Earle did and just keep bringing in new grand juries until one does indict her? Great idea!