Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Val Demings rising to top of Biden's V-P list

Former Orlando police chief, and current Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), is being considered as Joe Biden's V-P running mate

The Biden Vice-President sweepstakes is getting more interesting all the time.  Just yesterday once highly probable candidate for the post, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), withdrew from consideration.  It's likely that her former role as chief prosecutor in Minnesota, where she had a bad record with black-white relations, nixed her from the job.

Moving to the front of the pack is Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).  It kind of makes sense from Biden's perspective.  Florida is a key electoral state that must be won in order to secure the presidency.  He's already said he would 'prefer' to pick a woman or a person of color.  One leading candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) comes from a state that Biden is likely to win anyway.  Plus during the presidental debates she was exposed for having a bad record of treatment of black prisoners when she was her state's Attorney General as well.  What is it with these Democrat women prosecutors anyway?

I lived in Orlando, Florida for 20 years so am following this story with additional interest.  I can tell you that Orlando is about as racist as any city in America.  There is no way that Val Demings would have been selected as chief of police in that city unless she was someone who the local white power structure was certain would not rock the boat.

Demings grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and was one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked in orange groves, while her mother was a housekeeper.

She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.

In 1983, Demings applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD); her first assignment was to patrol Orlando's west-side black community. Demings was appointed Chief of the Orlando Police Department in 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.

Demings was the Democratic nominee to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the US House of Representatives in both 2012 and 2016. She lost the general election in 2012 but won in 2016.

A 2015 article in The Atlantic reports:

The [Orlando police] department has a long record of excessive-force allegations, and a lack of transparency on the subject, dating back at least as far as Demings’s time as chief. From 2010 to 2014, the department paid out more than $3.3 million in damages following at least 47 lawsuits alleging false arrest, excessive force, and other complaints against the department’s officers. (Records about these cases and other allegations of police misconduct in Orlando are not centrally housed or publicized, and some lawsuits are still outstanding.)

"This has been a problem for a while, through her administration and others. The problem is the leadership of the department,” said Lawanna Gelzer, president of the National Action Network’s Central Florida chapter. “… She’s not going to get my vote.”

In 2010, an Orlando police officer flipped 84-year-old Daniel Daley over his shoulder after the man became belligerent, throwing him to the ground and breaking a vertebra in his neck. Daley alleged excessive force and filed a lawsuit. The police department cleared the officer as "justified" in using a "hard take down" to arrest Daley, concluding he used the technique correctly even though he and the other officer made conflicting statements. Demings said "the officer performed the technique within department guidelines" but also said that her department had "begun the process of reviewing the use of force policy and will make appropriate modifications." A federal jury ruled in Daley's favor and awarded him $880,000 in damages.

“Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket. People are already on the fence about him,” Hawk Newsome, chairman of Black Lives Matter, Greater New York chapter, told media. “When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue. And I have been told this by numerous officers.”

 Florida's 10th congressional district now represented by Val Demings (click on link to enlarge)


While in Congress Rep. Demings has served on these committees in the House of Representatives:

  • Committee on Homeland Security (Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security)
  • Committee on the Judiciary (Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations - Vice Chair) and (Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law)
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support) and (Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness)

On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. She was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.

Demings supports and has vowed to defend Obama's 'Affordable Care Act' which likely means she does not support Medicare4All which Joe Biden has also said he opposes.  This position would be quite acceptable to the mega-insurance corporations on Wall Street.

It appears to me that Rep. Demings is just the kind of black woman that the Democrats would choose as a V-P candidate along with Biden.  Her record as chief of police in Orlando and her committee assignments in Congress indicate that the military industrial complex, which is quite strong in Central Florida and of course is dominant in Washington, would be pleased with this choice.

I still wonder if the Dems will dump Biden at the convention and bring in a new candidate.

Hold onto your hat. We shall see how it goes.

Bruce

2 Comments:

Blogger Margybb said...

You left me laughing at the end of the Val Demings piece. I also like its scholarly approach . Thanks for the quote from the Atlantic, which I missed. I hope to come down to B'wick for the late-July sentencing of the six remaining Plowshares7. I think we must have met, back in Oct. of 2019, but do not specifically recall.
Does my face look familiar? Find me on Fb and Twitter.
Thanks for these musings. Margaret
(use my personal email for reply, if warranted: margybb@yahoo.com. The Google email address is for my volunteer work.)

6/20/20, 11:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You left out the part where her vehicle was broken into and her agency assigned gun was stolen while she was chief. They have yet to recover the stolen gun.

6/23/20, 12:53 PM  

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