CNN Debate Roiled by Hecklers, Multiple Interruptions
Remarks by both New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden were disrupted by protestors.
The second night of CNN's Democratic primary debate on Wednesday was quickly upended after a heckler began chanting during New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker's opening statement.
The network's moderators asked the senator to stand by until the chanting stopped. A theater security official told The Hollywood Reporter that an individual was removed from the building after the incident.
According to reporters, the man chanted a slogan targeting New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Fire Pantaleo!," encouraging him to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner.
Mayor de Blasio's team responded to the interruption with a statement on Twitter that read, "To the protestors in the audience today: I heard you. I saw you. I thank you. This is what democracy looks like and no one said it was pretty."
That was only the first disruption of the night. About a half hour after de Blasio was targeted, former Vice President Joe Biden's remarks were interrupted by chanters who loudly protested the Obama administration's deportation of immigrants, stopping the debate for several seconds.
Prior to Wednesday's night debate, the network's moderators encouraged the crowd to remain quiet, a direction that was mostly followed during Tuesday's opening session.
CNN has said approximately 3,500 people attended Tuesday night's debate, including local residents, guests of the campaigns and representatives of the national Democratic Party.
The network has not publicly addressed the disruptions and did not respond to THR's requests for comment.