Texas Republican Matt Rinaldi was reportedly threatened and assaulted on the House floor by his Democratic colleagues after he informed them he made a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to address the illegal immigrant protesters’ persistent disruptions of the lawmakers’ proceedings on SB-4, legislation which takes aim at sanctuary cities.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s SB-4 essentially bans sanctuary cities in Texas and targets officers who refuse to comply with immigration law with possible jail time and large fines.
According to Fox News, hundreds of protesters filled the Texas capitol and erupted in chants. “Activists wearing red T-shirts reading ‘Lucha,’ or ‘Fight,’ quietly filled hundreds of gallery seats as proceedings began. After about 40 minutes, they began to cheer, drowning out the lawmakers below.”
Via a social media post, Rep. Rinaldi recounted what happened leading up to the alleged assault:
“Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said ‘I am illegal and here to stay.’ Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement,” Rinaldi wrote. “When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues.”
Rinaldi claims he continued to receive threats from Democrats, which he met with a promise of deadly self-defense:
During that time Poncho told me that he would ‘get me on the way to my car.’ He later approached me and reiterated that ‘I had to leave at some point, and he would get me.’ I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense.
The Republican added that he is “currently under DPS protection” and claims he has several witnesses, his colleagues, who “heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.”
Holding a press conference, Democrats placed the blame on Rinaldi, saying the Republican said he would “put a bullet in the head” of one of those involved in the dispute. According to Rinaldi’s account, he indeed threatened someone, but only in response to threats against him.