New Jersey senator and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker was giving a speech at an event in Florida on Sunday when a van crashed into the building outside the room, startling the attendees and sparking an immediate evacuation, per The Daily Mail.
The campaign event, where Booker was giving a speech on voting rights, hosted about 30 attendees in total at a cafe in a strip mall in Miami Gardens. The speech was cut short when an enormous crash was heard outside of the building. The car in question had crashed into a structural beam, consequently sending tremors through the building. The attendees quickly rushed out, encountering a mangled van with a female driver inside calling for help. When paramedics arrived, the passenger of the van was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the vehicle was taken to the police station for questioning.
Although Booker had been receiving death threats — specifically from two Florida men, in the months leading up to his visit — the crash was determined to be an accident unrelated to Booker or to the event. While his attendees were left shaken after the crash, Booker reportedly remained calm and attempted to help.
The Daily Mail writes that Booker later stated to local news station Local 10, “I’m glad the people involved are safe and it’s an unfortunate accident that happened. I have been a former mayor. We have dealt with a lot crises. The key is to remain calm and see what you can do to help other people.”
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Despite the interruption, the senator was able to finish his speech at the Miami Soul Cafe, staying for a Q&A with his supporters.
The event was part of Booker’s “Justice for All” tour, one which had taken him through various states over the previous weeks. The speech in Miami specifically addressed the constitutional amendment passed in Florida that gives former felons voting rights.
“I was so inspired by the leaders here in Florida who changed something that was put into place as a means of suppressing African Americans, specifically… you literally had counties in this state where one out of every three African Americans could not vote because criminal justice wasn’t equal.”
Booker went on to point out the absurdity of a person with minor infractions, such as a nonviolent drug offense, being unable to vote for the rest of their lives.
Despite the passing of the amendment, Florida’s House of Representatives is attempting to reverse the measure. Booker called the House’s actions “outrageous and unacceptable.”