A man was removed from the crowd during a speech by Sarah Palin at Wednesday's anti-Iran deal protest on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. The man, who appeared to be African American, was escorted out by several uniformed officers shortly after Palin enthusiastically praised police officers.
"Since our president won't say it," Palin said, "since he still hasn't called off the dogs, we'll say it: Police officers and first-responders all across this great land, we got your back! We salute you!"
She pointed around the crowd, adding to cheers, "Thank you, police officers!"
The "called off the dogs" remark, while employing a common expression, was quickly interpreted to be a reference to protests and protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks fairer treatment of African Americans by police and highlights the inordinate number of blacks killed by law enforcement.
Black Lives Matter can't be "dogs," Palin. White America loves and protects dogs.
— Stereo Williams (@stereowilliams) September 9, 2015
The dehumanization of our movement is fully underway. Now we are animals. https://t.co/04egC6V9Ie
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 9, 2015
Shortly after her comment, there was a disturbance in the crowd, noticeable in C-SPAN's televised broadcast of the event. Palin continued her speech, talking about Obama negotiating with "the braggadocious No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism" -- Iran -- and then trailing off as a shouting voice could be heard in the crowd. Appearing to be interacting with the person, Palin uttered a curt "good" as a bodyguard appeared over her shoulder.
At that point, the man was forcibly removed from the audience. As he was escorted out, he appeared to be arguing with the officers around him.
It's not clear if the man who was removed from the event was responding to Palin's reference to police officers. Republican candidates for president have regularly dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement, including Donald Trump, who on Tuesday night told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly that members of the movement were "trouble."
His father and sister were also wearing these shirts at the rally against the Iran deal pic.twitter.com/nZfLMjzA5R
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) September 9, 2015
Palin continued her speech without further incident. Hers was one of dozens during the event organized by the conservative Tea Party Patriots, meant to apply belated pressure on Congress to reject the deal. It already has enough support from Democrats to ensure approval.