Poor Sleepy Joe. No matter what he does to appease the mob, he just can’t seem to satisfy the wackjobs on the left. Rumors are swirling that Orlando area Congresswoman Val Demings is on his short list of Vice Presidential candidates. A black woman who represents an area in the most valuable swing state? Should be a home run for Biden.
Except she used to be a cop. Worse, she was actually chief of Orlando’s police department. Worse still, there were several allegations excessive force used by officers under her watch. This does not make the Black Lives Matter mob happy.
Val Demings’ meteoric rise from the Orlando Police Department to the halls of Congress and a starring role in the impeachment of President Donald Trump has reportedly landed her on the shortlist of contenders to join former Vice President Joe Biden atop the Democratic ticket this fall.
But Demings’ background as a former police chief at a department that has been accused of using force excessively, including during her tenure, could prove a challenge on the national stage, particularly when people across the country are protesting in the streets against police brutality.
To national Democrats, Demings is a rising star who has already once taken on Trump. In Central Florida, she’s half of a political and law enforcement power couple, along with husband and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, himself a former Orlando police chief and county sheriff.
“One could argue she is uniquely qualified to help find solutions [and] help craft policies for departments across the country struggling to overcome the image that many of them use force recklessly, particularly against African Americans and other minorities,” said Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.
But, Jewett cautioned, many progressives “are already not that comfortable with Joe Biden. And if he picks someone who was a police chief — even though she’s an African American woman — that might be a deal-breaker for some of those voters.”
OPD was dogged by allegations of excessive force during her tenure, a reputation that preceded her and lingered after she left.
An Orlando Sentinel investigation found that, between 2010 and 2014, Orlando officers used force in 5.6% of arrests, more than double the rate of some other agencies, including Tampa’s. OPD officers also disproportionately used force on black suspects, who accounted for 55% of the use-of-force cases but 28% of the city’s population.
The Sentinel’s review covered the final 17 months of Demings’ tenure, as well as the full run of her successor, Paul Rooney, and the start of Mina’s time as chief.
Demings said she stands by her record.
“Before I was a law enforcement officer, I was a social worker,” she said. “And I took a social worker’s heart to that job. Everybody in Orlando who was watching saw me be very effective on violent crime offenders but also realize we cannot arrest our way out of our problems.”
Demings also was chief when Officer Travis Lamont slammed 84-year-old World War II veteran Daniel Daley to the ground, breaking his neck. Lamont said Daley was belligerent about his car being towed.
Demings determined the officer’s “dynamic takedown” was “within department guidelines,” but a federal jury later awarded Daley $880,000. Between 2010 and 2014, the city or its insurer paid $3.6 million to resolve excessive-force lawsuits or claims.
As such, the Black Lives Matter crowd will not be pleased if she ends up on the ticket with Creepy Joe, as The Guardian reports:
But her suggestion as running mate is angering some, with opponents critical of her record while police chief. They point to several incidents of police using excessive force but going without serious punishment during her tenure.
‘Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket,’ said Hawk Newsome, chairman of Black Lives Matter, Greater New York chapter.
‘People are already on the fence about him,’ he told The New York Post.
‘When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue.
‘And I have been told this by numerous officers.’
Her record as police chief, in light of the wave of demands for an end to police brutality following George Floyd’s killing by a white policeman, is worrying many of Biden’s supporters.
Newsome, 41, a former special projects coordinator for the Bronx district attorney, said Kamala Harris’ years as a prosecutor should also disqualify her as a veep candidate.
He said he favors Michelle Obama or former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams.
Some Democratic Party insiders, however, dismissed criticism of Demings, pointing out she could serve as a valuable bridge between activists demanding a black woman as running mate, and moderates hoping to win over law-and-order voters.
‘The left flank, which is the very loud but very small minority that is pissed on Twitter about everything, are going to hate whoever he picks,’ one Senate insider told The Post.
But that’s not the only reason BLM is mad at Feely Joe. Not only is the touchy one not down with abolishing the police, he’s pushed for more funding for law enforcement. Rafi Schwartz from Mic reports that this is no good:
Amid a rising chorus of calls to defund, dismantle, and abolish police departments across the country, former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has responded to the growing movement to reimagine law enforcement in America by proposing a massive cash influx to police departments instead.
In an opinion essay published early Wednesday morning in USA Today, Biden roundly rejected abolitionist calls, explaining that he believes the “better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”
“I’ve long been a firm believer in the power of community policing — getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect. That’s why I’m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras, and recruiting more diverse police officers.”
Still, by reiterating his commitment to increase rather than decrease funding for local law enforcement, Biden has conspicuously positioned himself at odds with a growing grassroots movement to address the systemic inequality in policing. Instead, Biden is simply advocating for a suite of reforms that activists say speak to the symptoms, but not the root causes of police racism. Consider that the Minneapolis Police Department was already subject to a litany of “reforms” that nevertheless couldn’t enact the sort of institutional change necessary to prevent an officer from killing George Floyd two weeks ago. Indeed, Biden’s call to “[get] cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect” rings particularly hollow considering the reports that Floyd and the man who killed him, Derek Chauvin, did, in fact, know each other for at least a year.
It’s always a blast watching them eat their own.