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Manchester lawmaker removed from State House committee over racist slur

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House Speaker Sherman Packard has stripped Manchester Rep. Nicole Klein Knight of her seat on the House Criminal Justice Committee after a dozen BIPOC activists said the Democrat used a racist slur at the State House and called security on a young Black organizer.

Klein Knight’s behavior, according to the press release signed by 12 BIPOC progressive activists, has been an issue for several months.

It purportedly culminated when she “accosted” a young, Black organizer after he testified before a House committee and, the activists said, she used the racial slur “to make a point,” according to the release.

“This was only made worse when she defended her use of the word despite his repeated requests for her to stop,” the activists wrote.

Klein Knight then allegedly called security.

“Not only did she verbally abuse him, but the representative put this young man’s safety at risk in a situation she started, continued and escalated,” the release states.

Democratic leaders in the House also condemned the episode.

“The behavior and language used by Rep. Klein Knight is completely irreconcilable with legislating,” Democratic leader Renny Cushing and Deputy Leader David Cote said in a joint statement.

Klein Knight did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NHPR.

But in her two terms in the House, Klein Knight has rarely been shy. She sits on the House Criminal Justice Committee, where she has worked to position herself as a progressive voice on policing, drug policy, homelessness and mental health.

She’s also pushed boundaries of behavior, including making a show of consuming medical marijuana gummies during a committee meeting on Zoom, and accusing GOP lawmakers, without proof, of infecting her with COVID.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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