Top players leading the movement to defund the police have declared their support for Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The two candidates’ backers include Black Lives Matter, Working Families Party, Mijente, and Black to the Future.
These groups supporting Warnock and Ossoff claim that systemic racism exists, and that police are a major component of it. They advocate for limiting police interaction and diverting funding from police into other programs, such as mental health assistance.
One of the main initiatives supporting those groups in funding the election runoff is Win Both Seats. Its cofounders are a coalition of political candidates, activists, and the Hollywood elite, including: Andrew Yang, Martin Luther King III, Susan Taylor, Kumail Nanjiani, Jaden Smith, and Sophia Bush.
Win Both Seats is owned and operated by Defeat by Tweet, a super PAC whose sole expenditures are against Republican candidates. Donors to the PAC include ex-Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novogratz, Facebook, John Legend, Microsoft, Google, and Liberty Mutual.
Initiatives set forth by these groups align with the platforms of both Warnock and Ossoff. These include demilitarization of police, as well as decriminalization of drugs and illegal immigrants. Unlike these groups, Warnock and Ossoff stop short of expressly advocating for defunding the police.
However, both candidates have promised to demilitarize police. That would entail restrictions on no-knock raids, federally-funded military equipment, and SWAT teams. Both candidates also promised to end the cash bail system.
Warnock promised to reimagine policing, decriminalize marijuana and non-violent drug-related offenses, and end for-profit prisons. He has publicly denounced police as bullies, gangsters, thugs, and a danger to children.
Ossoff came closer to publicly supporting defunding the police. In an interview this past summer, Ossoff warned that police funding needed to be “on the line.” However, his campaign later stated that Ossoff was referring to supplemental funding, not all funds. Months later, Ossoff disavowed defunding the police.
Ossoff has also promised to legalize marijuana, decriminalize non-violent drug-related offenses, and establish more sanctuary cities. Conversely, Ossoff also declared that he would increase federal resources to thwart white collar crimes, human trafficking, and espionage.
Overall, both candidates align with many of the issues that groups aiming to defund the police advocate: demilitarizing police, decriminalizing non-violent drug-related offenses and illegal immigrants, ending private prisons, and ending cash bail. It appears that Warnock and Ossoff stop short of defunding the police. Both men only go so far as to say they would consider modifying funding for police.
The runoff election is January 5. Early voting begins December 14.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Defund the Police Sign” by Mike Shaheen. CC BY 2.0.