Congressman Correa on crashed town hall: 'I can't let these people win'

Congressman Lou Correa at the state Capitol in a 2009 file photo.
Congressman Lou Correa at the state Capitol in a 2009 file photo.
Rich Pedroncelli / AP Images

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Protesters on Tuesday night disrupted Congressman Lou Correa's Santa Ana town hall on immigration policies. A few minutes into the discussion, a fight broke out and organizers decided to temporarily stop the event.

Two women were detained and another person was arrested for assault before the event resumed.

Correa, a Democrat who represents Anaheim and Santa Ana, talked to Alex Cohen on Wednesday's Morning Edition about the raucous evening.

Click the play button above to hear the whole conversation.

On what he experienced Tuesday night

I opened it up, I had people come in, I’ve always tried to respect everybody’s first amendment right — come in, sit down, we’ll talk and then you can ask questions … it was a good dozen people who decided they didn’t want to let me speak, they kept interrupting me … it wasn’t all of them, I had about three who actually were very complimentary, came up and said “we disagree,” thanked me for my work on veterans issues … but the vast majority then started screaming, and would not let me do my business, which was to carry on a town hall. Very disappointed.

On when he tried to find out more about them

I’ve seen a few of of them around. When I asked where they lived, they refused to give me their name and where they lived. I wasn’t going to kick them out, but you know, any time somebody asks a question I usually say, present yourself, introduce yourself, where do you live, for the record. None of these folks wanted to give that information. 

On his approach to future town halls

I can’t let these people win, in the sense of disrupting my town halls. I’ve more than 7 or 8 of them that have gone very well, and we’re going to resume these town halls … the next time, I’m going to make sure we continue to have law enforcement present so we can keep law and order and move ahead.