Parkland father Manuel Oliver after arrest over protest: ‘I represented my son and he has a voice’

Joaquin Oliver’s father’s protest against Republicans he says are going after ATF and not ‘gun violence’ results in arrest

WASHINGTON – Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son Joaquin was among the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting, was arrested for protesting during a hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Oliver first used Twitter to protest. He wrote that it was “incredible” to watch “how Republicans decided” to attack the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Oliver wrote the lawmakers were doing so instead of addressing “America’s gun violence epidemic” and he accused them of serving “their role as Gun Industry’s little [expletive]!”

Oliver, who was with his wife Patricia Oliver, later stood up during the “ATF Overreach” U.S. House committee hearing and actually shouted at the Republican lawmakers, “You are full of [expletive] — all of you!”

A video from ABC News shows the grieving parents willingly walking out of the hearing room. Another video shows two U.S. Capitol police officers pinning Manuel Oliver on the ground in the hallway.

“Don’t abuse your power; let my husband go,” Patricia Oliver said before one of the officers moved to push her away with one arm and another loudly ordered her to “Back up!”

A video also shows Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, D-Florida, intervening after he left the hearing room to tell the USCP officers that Manuel Oliver was one of the fathers who had lost a son during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I think a lot of people were out of line before I said what I needed to say ... I don’t think I was out of line ... I represented my son and he has a voice through his mother and his father, and if you are asking me to stop doing that, then you are wasting your time,” Manuel Oliver said during a news conference after the USCP released him Thursday afternoon.

A 19-year-old former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student with mental health issues used an AR-15-style rifle to shoot and kill 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver in the third floor of the school's building 12 during the 2018 Valentine's Day massacre.

A USCP officer told ABC News that Oliver was “resisting” arrest, but Patricia Oliver, who witnessed it all, said her husband was not violent. A video shows him in the hallway shouting while compliant.

“I don’t know why I was arrested,” Manuel Oliver said during the virtual news conference adding that a police officer handed him an order to appear in court on April 13, but didn’t tell him if he was facing any charges.

The Oliver family has been advocating for gun control at the state and federal levels since the tragedy. They believe it could have been prevented if the 19-year-old shooter, who had a long history of mental illness and violence at school, wouldn’t have been able to legally buy the AR-15-style rifle that he used.

“I know what I am doing, not only tomorrow, but for the rest of my life,” Manuel Oliver said about his activism. ”I am doing this. I am complaining and I will march until there is no reason to do it.”

Reps. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, and Andy Biggs, R-Arizona, accused the ATF of “curtailing the ability of lawful gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights” and President Joe Biden’s administration of “weaponizing the ATF to advance a left-wing gun control agenda without regard for fundamental fairness.”

A witness video shows Patricia Oliver returned to the hearing room and talked to the lawmakers while they were standing behind the dais during recess. The grieving mother continued, “What are you going to say about Joaquin? He got shot four times.”

The video shows one of the lawmakers saying, “Officers, remove this woman at once!”

A USCP officer then grabbed Patricia Oliver by the arm and pulled her out of the hearing room.

“MANNY IS A HERO. He didn’t deserve this. The Republican Chair of this committee just called him a narcissist. Disgraceful,” Frost, of Orlando, wrote on Twitter referring to Fallon, the chairman of the Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs.

Biggs is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance.

Manuel Oliver said he reacted to the lies that were being spread during the hearing because they ignored the victims of gun violence and the ongoing epidemic.

“This is not about me ... This is about saving lives and I think I am doing way more than him in order to achieve that goal,” Manuel Oliver said in response to Fallon’s insult.

The hearing’s witnesses included Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and Alex Bosco, the inventor of the pistol stabilizing brace, which he has profited from.

Watch the videos related to the arrest:

Watch a video of the news conference after USCP release:

Related social media: archives

Listen to Florida Files Feb. 14, 2019 interview: Manuel Oliver says he’ll “never give up.”

ABC News Investigative Reporter Will Steakin was covering the hearing. Local 10 News Futures Planner/Assignment Desk Editor Kerry Weston contributed to this report from Pembroke Park. Torres contributed from Miami and Kennedy from Washington, D.C.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.