A 'Victimless Offense:' Ossoff Mirrors Biden's Rhetoric on Decriminalizing Driving Under the Influence

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Posted: Jun 19, 2020 2:35 PM
A 'Victimless Offense:' Ossoff Mirrors Biden's Rhetoric on Decriminalizing Driving Under the Influence

Source: AP Photo/David Goldman

Georgia Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff took a radical stance on drunk driving as a crime in the wake of the death of Rayshard Brooks, who was detained for driving under the influence and later shot and killed by Atlanta police officers. In a radio interview with Georgia radio host Dean Obeidallah, Ossoff claimed that Brooks committed a “victimless crime,” and that the law enforcement officers’ lives were not in danger.

“This was a man who was detained for a victimless offense. He was asleep in a car at a drive-thru,” Ossoff said. “He didn’t have a deadly weapon, there wasn’t an officer’s life at risk, and he [Brooks] shouldn’t have died.”

While Brooks’ death was tragic, to insinuate that the responding officers’ lives were not at risk is dishonest. Upon failing the breathalyzer test, the encounter turned into a struggle that ultimately led Brooks to seize an officer’s taser. Though Brooks was originally cooperative, the escalation was far from “victimless,” and the reaction from law enforcement was righteous. 

Aside from Brooks’ eventual violent reaction, driving under the influence in and of itself is responsible for 10,000 deaths per year, on average. So while Brooks was originally cooperative, driving under the influence is a serious crime that should be treated as such, and is hardly a “victimless offense,” as Ossoff claims.

The Georgia Democrat’s sympathy toward drunk drivers mirrors rhetoric from Joe Biden, who said recently that he “doesn’t count” drunk driving as a felony. 

Both Ossoff and Biden would be hard-pressed to take such an apologetic stance toward driving under the influence as a crime if asked by voters who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver. Indeed, while Brooks’ death is unfortunate, escalating a situation with law enforcement in which officers feel their life is threatened does not make Brooks the victim of wrongdoing by law enforcement. Ossoff, and a growing number of Democrats in the mainstream, continue to take anti-law enforcement stances in order to appease the progressive left, but treating driving under the influence as the selfish crime it is should not be a partisan issue.