Protesters Repeatedly Drown Out Candidates at Democratic Debate

Candidates are shown on stage during night two of CNN's Democratic debate. (Credit: CNN)

Protesters shouted down New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s opening remarks Wednesday during the second night of CNN’s Democratic debate.

As de Blasio spoke, hecklers chanted “Fire Pantaleo,” in reference to New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in 2014. The incident was caught on camera and Garner,  an unarmed black man, could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” before he died.

Seconds after de Blasio spoke, Pantaleo protests erupted again during Booker’s remarks. The senator briefly paused and the protesters were removed from the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice said it would not move move forward with federal charges against Pantaleo, prompting calls for the city of New York to fire the officer. It’s unclear why Booker, from neighboring New Jersey, was heckled.

Another group of protesters drowned out former Vice President Joe Biden with chants of “three million deportations.” They were referring to the estimated number of undocumented immigrants deported during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Biden didn’t directly respond to the hecklers, but he did have something to say about illegal immigration.

“If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. If we let people in, what should we say to the other immigrants wanting to come to the U.S. around the world … People should have to get in line.”