The California Democratic Party African American Caucus is asking the state party for a formal apology to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and its members for what it called disrespect by a private subcontractor at its weekend state convention.
Waters, a Los Angeles Democrat known for her comments on President Trump, had been speaking at a caucus meeting during the event Saturday night when the sound to her microphone was cut off.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the caucus said it had concluded an investigation with the Sacramento City Council and executive staff from the California Democratic Party to determine what transpired. They found the state party retained the event planning firm Frontrunner to produce the convention, attended by nearly 3,000 people from across the state. Frontrunner subcontracted the audio and visual work to a separate firm that has not been identified.
The caucus said it was an employee of that firm that approached Waters and interrupted her remarks by pulling the plug connecting her microphone to the audio system.
Executive board members of the African American Caucus have since sent a letter to the newly elected leadership of the California Democratic Party, outlining recommendations it says it believes will address the situation and help prevent similar incidents in the future.
The requests include the formal apology, “a commitment to sensitivity training for contracted and subcontracted employees and better training on protocols when meetings run longer than the contracted time.” It also is asking for reimbursement of the meeting expenses associated with the event, and for party leadership to work with the caucus and develop better security protocols.
“We would first like to humbly and heartfully apologize to the ‘Good’ Congresswoman Maxine Waters, our African American Caucus members, friends and guest for the inexcusable behavior of the audio service employee,” Darren Parker, longtime chairman of the African American Caucus, said in a statement. “In my 20 years as a Democratic Party leader, I have never experienced such the type of behavior as I did at the Sacramento Convention hall on Saturday evening. What is most disturbing is that this individual could have meant harm to the Congresswoman and was unchecked before he reached her.”
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This story originally published on our Essential Politics blog at 7:21 a.m.