On the morning of March 29, 2006, McKinney entered the Longworth House Office Building's southeast entrance and proceeded past the security checkpoint, walking around the metal detector. Members of Congress have identifying lapel pins and are not required to pass through metal detectors. The officers present failed to recognize McKinney as a member of Congress because she was not wearing the appropriate lapel pin. She proceeded westward down the ground floor hallway and about halfway down the hallway was grabbed by United States Capitol Police officer Paul McKenna, who states that he had been calling after her: "Ma'am, Ma'am!"; at that time it is reported that McKinney struck the officer. Two days later, Officer McKenna filed a police report claiming that McKinney had struck "his chest with a closed fist."
In the midst of a media frenzy, McKinney made an apology on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 6, 2006, neither admitting to nor denying the charge, stating only that: "There should not have been any physical contact in this incident." Minutes before making the Congresswoman's apology, McKinney's security officer made contact with a TV correspondent outside of the U.S. Capitol.
Though McKinney was not indicted for criminal charges nor subjected to disciplinary action by the House, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police has advocated the filing of a civil suit by Officer McKenna.
In the wake of the March 2006 incident with the Capitol Police officer, Rep. McKinney was still very much in the news and her office invited the media to attend one of her monthly "District Days," where she spends one full day meeting with constituents to discuss issues of concern. At her April 23, 2006, "District Days" event, Rep. McKinney was being interviewed by WGCL's Renee Starzyk, who rather than asking questions about District Days as McKinney would have liked, repeatedly questioned her about the March 29 scuffle with a Capitol police officer. Frustrated, McKinney stood up and apparently forgot she was still wearing the microphone. Her offscreen comments were captured on tape. She was heard saying, "Oh, crap, now you know what ... they lied to Coz, and Coz is a fool." She was referring to one of her aides, Coz Carson. McKinney realized the embarrassing mistake and returned on screen with the microphone, this time with instructions on what parts of the interview CBS 46 was allowed to use, "anything that is captured by your audio ... that is captured while I'm not seated in this chair is off the record and is not permissible to be used ... is that understood?" The comments from the interview were immediately aired on CBS and eventually across the nation. (Importantly, McKinney stated after the "Coz is a fool" statement was made that it was off the record, as opposed to stating beforehand that certain portions are off the record.)