WASHINGTON (WSVN) — Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, was arrested at the U.S. Capitol after he was forcibly removed from a House committee hearing about a Biden administration’s firearm ruling.
Thursday’s arrest happened during a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “ATF’s Assault on the Second Amendment: When Is Enough Enough?”
The hearing yielded a passionate debate over gun deaths and firearm regulations.
Capitol Police intervened and arrested Manuel for disrupting the hearing.
Speaking out about his arrest hours later, Manuel said it was uncalled for.
“Bottom line: I don’t think I was out of line,” he said. “I represented my son, and as I said before, Joaquin has — not had — Joaquin has a voice, though his mother and through his father.”
Manuel’s son was one of 17 people killed in the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Cellphone video documenting the arrest captured officers holding Manuel down on the ground, as a small crowd gathered.
His wife, Patricia Oliver, demanded officers to release him.
“Let my husband go,” she said.
“You need to back up,” an officer is heard telling her in the video.
The crowd that gathered caused more officers to respond.
“He is not violent, he is not violent,” Patricia is heard saying in the video.
The Olivers were attending a GOP Oversight Committee hearing about the Biden administration’s new rule tightening regulations on pistol stabilizing braces. Republican opponents call it an attack on the Second Amendment.
Among the legislators speaking at the hearing was U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, the committee’s chairman.
“We understand that one murder is one too many, but you can’t legislate away evil,” he said.
At some point during the hearing, the Olivers spoke up. Fallon asked Patricia to refrain from disrupting the proceedings, then asked for her removal.
“Oh, ma’am, ma’am? All right, please remove that woman, please,” he said. “You’re removed. You’re breaching protocol and disorder in the committee room.”
Patricia then turned her attention toward the chairman.
“You took my son away from me, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to listen to your absurd things,” she said.
As Fallon asked for Patricia’s removal, her husband responded.
“Why don’t you remove her?” said Manuel.
“And remove the gentleman, too,” said Fallon.
Police responded by removing Manuel.
During the committee recess, Patricia continued to address legislators.
“What are you going to say about Joaquin? When are you going to talk about Joaquin? He was shot four times,” she said.
When asked to refrain from talking, she replied, “Of course I can.”
Officers removed her from the hearing room moments later.
Fallon addressed the Olivers’ disruption after the committee reconvened.
“To be that disruptive and to be that narcissistic to breach decorum shouldn’t be applauded, and it sure as hell shouldn’t be applauded by members of this committee,” he said.
“I ignore if this person has kids, but if he does, he might be enjoying the company of his loved ones. Well, I can’t do that,” said Manuel.
Manuel, a renowned artist, became an advocate for gun violence prevention in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
He was escorted out of a White House event last July for interrupting President Joe Biden during a ceremony celebrating passage of a bipartisan gun control legislation.
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