During a debate over a bill that some see as discriminatory at the Indiana Statehouse this Thursday, Democratic Rep. Greg Porter walked off the floor after Republicans shouted down a group of Black lawmakers, USA Today reports.
The dispute was over House Bill 1367, which Porter, a member of the Black caucus, says will allow students in a racially diverse school district to join a nearby district that's smaller, more rural and made up primarily of white students. According to the bill's author, GOP Rep. Jake Teshka, it's not discriminatory and it's primarily about transportation issues.
After Porter walked off the floor, Rep. Vernon Smith reiterated the claims of discrimination and talked about his own experiences of racism as a Black man, and was met with a chorus of boos from Republicans.
Smith's words upset GOP Rep. Jim Lucas so much that he walked out as well. According to USA Today, Lucas was sanctioned by the GOP Speaker of the House over the summer for sharing a racist meme.
Ultimately, the bill passed, 52-43. Afterwards, the confrontation spilled out into the hallway.
"I was confronted by [Democratic Rep. Vanessa Summers] and accused of being discriminatory and racist toward people in general," GOP Rep. Sean Eberhart said. "That's totally not factual. I don't have a racist bone in my body."
According to Summers, Eberhart "just went off and got mad and tried to hit me."
"I felt in danger for my life," she added.
"Everybody over there is racist and discriminatory," Summers said of House Republicans. "Those that aren't and are not standing up for what's right, they've got white privilege and they're racist too."
Watch video, courtesy of WISH-TV, below:
Shouting, tense moments in Indiana House of Representatives www.youtube.com