After the death of George Floyd, anti-police sentiment seems to have reached a fever pitch among Democrats. Activists and candidates called for the defunding of police, antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters tried to burn down buildings with law enforcement inside, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to federal officers as “stormtroopers.” Yet one Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia was ahead of the curve.
Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, preached sermons condemning police as far back as 2015. In those sermons, he said the police act like gangsters, thugs, and bullies. He insisted that cops pose a “danger” to children.
He alluded to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. “So in Ferguson, police power showing up in a kind of gangster and thug mentality – you know you can wear all kinds of colors and be a thug, you can sometimes wear the colors of the state and behave like a thug,” Warnock said in a sermon on March 8, 2015.
That November, he said, “When you think about the fact that America still warehouses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see police officers act like bullies on the street.”
In June 2015, Warnock preached a “Children’s Day” sermon, warning that “our children are in trouble, and it’s often those who are sworn to protect who cause more trouble.” He referenced a viral video showing a cop violently shove a 14-year-old girl to the ground in McKinney, Texas, after she confronted the officer. The McKinney Police Department paid $184,850 to settle a lawsuit regarding the incident.
“Not everybody, but did it not break your heart, it broke mine, to see an officer of the law manhandle a 14-year-old child in a bikini. It hearkened back to the ugliest days down South and up South. And if you’re not careful it can steal your joy when you think about the fact that our children are in danger,” Warnock said.
While the McKinney incident was extremely disturbing, it does not suggest police pose a broad threat to the safety of black children. The officer in question was placed on leave, resigned, and then faced a lawsuit.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed Warnock’s anti-police comments in a segment on Monday night.
Whoa. Tucker Carlson just exposed Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock's disgusting comments about law enforcement.
Warnock has called police officers "gangsters and thugs" and "bullies."
— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) September 22, 2020
“Democrat Raphael Warnock’s radical views about the men and women keeping Georgia communities safe are completely out-of-touch with the principles and priorities of Georgia families,” NRSC spokesman Nathan Brand said in a statement. “To refer to police officers as ‘thugs,’ ‘bullies,’ and ‘gangsters’ shows that Warnock is in line with the most extreme elements of the Democratic Party that are funding his campaign.”
This kind of anti-police rhetoric has inspired the violent riots across the country this summer. While leftists repeat claims of “institutional racism,” the riots have victimized the black community. The destruction disproportionately hit black communities in Kenosha, Wisc., Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
Warnock has claimed that he opposes defunding the police, but he has called for “demilitarizing” them and “reimagining policing.”
Warnock is running in Georgia’s special election to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who announced his resignation last year. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) to succeed him. Georgia has jungle primaries, which means that multiple candidates in each party all run against one another. If a candidate receives 50 percent of the vote or more on Election Day, he or she wins outright. If not, the top two finishers go to a runoff.
According to the RealClearPolitics average, Loeffler leads with 25 percent, with Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in second with 21 percent, and Warnock in third with 16 percent. Democrats may coalesce behind Warnock, however, since he currently leads the church Martin Luther King Jr. once pastored.
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.