Atlanta, Georgia – Local law enforcement officials spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning outside of the Georgia State Capitol, laying out what is at stake in the pair of runoff Senate elections set to occur in January. Ahead of Joe Biden's visit to Georgia to campaign for Democratic Senatorial candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the officials denounced both candidates' anti-police rhetoric.
Outgoing Gwinett Sheriff Butch Conway said that reelecting incumbent GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler is crucial for the future of funding for law enforcement.
“It’s a sad time to be leaving when you have Democrat politicians running for Senate that want to defund police...We have to have more money for police if we want better police. It’s crazy talk to say you want to defund police. The country will be less safe; I urge all Republicans, Independents, and Conservative Democrats to make sure we don’t have a government controlled by one party. The January 5 vote is the most important vote of my lifetime...Let’s send Loeffler and Perdue back to the Senate.”
Asked about President-Elect Biden’s recent comments urging his party to "remain quiet" about motives to "defund the police," Conway said that voters should recognize that the "safety of the entire country" is at stake if candidates who support the movement are elected.
“The safety of this entire country is at stake if police are defunded anywhere. You have to have more training if you want better police,” he said. “We have to have higher pay if you want better police. More education. You can’t do that by defunding or cutting police budgets...Talking about defunding the police is just insanity.”
Neither Warnock nor Ossoff has endorsed the movement to "defund the police" outright, but both have vilified law enforcement. Warnock referred to law enforcement officials as "gangsters," "thugs," and "bullies," while Ossoff has said that funding for police departments should be "on the line," if arbitrary standards for use of force are not met. Both are endorsed by groups that advocate for the idea of "defunding the police," and neither has condemned the fringe movement. Conway said that although neither Ossoff nor Warnock has publicly endorsed "defunding the police," Biden's private comments and the Democratic Party's support of the movement pose a threat to public safety.
“All we’ve heard for months from the Democrat Party is ‘defund the police.’ Now I understand Joe Biden is talking the other way now, not wanting to talk about ‘defunding the police’ until after this election, but that doesn’t change anything. The program by the Democrat Party has been to ‘defund the police,’ to change the basic concept of police work...You’ve got Reverend Warnock who doesn’t respect police. He’s called us ‘thugs.’ I take that as a personal affront, because I don’t know any ‘thug’ police officers.”
President-Elect Biden is set to campaign for Ossoff and Warnock on Tuesday, after telling his party to keep quiet about stripping funding from law enforcement.
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