Emotions came to a head during a public hearing on California’s reparations task force Saturday, when two men began to argue and had to be separated. While the argument tipped into more personal territory than about public policy, task force member Cheryl Grills said she saw the confrontation from the dais as the manifestation of the tension building across months of public testimony.

“If you understand stress, you can understand a lot of what was happening in that room that day,” said Grills, a clinical psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.