Marco Rubio campaign hits Val Demings on police immunity vote

demings vs. rubio
Demings has been trying to run on police background; Rubio has been trying to taint that.

The contest between Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings continues to focus on her ties to law enforcement, as Rubio’s campaign released a video in which police blast her for her vote last year on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

That policing reform bill (HR 1280) was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 that arose out of George Floyd’s murder by the Minneapolis police. It passed the House along party lines, but died in the Senate.

Specifically, Rubio’s campaign video shows law enforcement officers expressing outrage that the bill includes provisions that would strip police of qualified immunity, protection against lawsuits over what they do on the job.

The video features seven law enforcement leaders, including county Sheriffs and executives of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, expressing outrage over her vote. Those Sheriffs and the PBA have endorsed Rubio.

Among them, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith declares, “Shame on you, Val.”

Demings’ campaign responded by reasserting that she’s been a cop, including a Police Chief, and has voted numerous times for legislation to protect law enforcement, while “Rubio was plotting his political career” and voting against funding for police.

Demings’ campaign did not explicitly defend or discuss the qualified immunity provision, or her co-sponsorship of the police reform bill containing it.

Rubio’s video comes the day after the Demings campaign launched a statewide TV commercial lauding her 27 years as an Orlando police officer, including the last four years as the Orlando Chief of Police.

Among the comments in the video:

— Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook: “I’m really disappointed in Val Demings’ position on law enforcement, especially qualified immunity.”

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— Florida PBA President John Kazanjian: “Val Demings. Shame on her. Police officer. Voted to take our qualified immunity away.”

— Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods: “And to vote for something like that, or to even get behind it, it’s disappointing.”

— Smith: “Look at her voting record. It doesn’t matter who she says she was or what she did in the past, because apparently it’s obvious she’s forgotten about that. He added, “Shame on you, Val.”

— Florida PBA Senior Vice President Mick McHale: “The impact that it will have on law enforcement in the state of Florida is unacceptable.”

— Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno: “And that unfortunately radiates through what we see throughout our county.”

Demings’ campaign press secretary Devon Cruz responded with, “Chief Demings spent 27 years at the Orlando Police Department, including over three years as the department’s Chief of Police. She put on a bulletproof vest and patrolled the streets for violent criminals while Marco Rubio was plotting his political career.”

“Marco Rubio wants to make this race about anything other than what it is: a choice between a cop on the beat and a career politician who puts special interests and big money donors before what’s best for Florida,” he added.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


13 comments

  • tom palmer

    June 14, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Another phony GOP gambit. The idea that public employees should have no responsibility for their personal actions is a curious position for the party to have when they blame the President for things that are beyond his control.

  • Tony Peppers

    June 14, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Wow, she opposes qualified immunity? Welp, she’s got my vote then.

    Is a country truly free if justice is perverted and cannot be served?

  • Ocean Joe

    June 14, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Am sure Val appreciates being schooled by a bunch of backwoods hillbilly sheriffs in the tank for whoever has an R by their name.
    Marco has never brought a lot to the table, he’s been working on the daylight savings thing for over a decade…still no cigar.

    • Impeach Biden

      June 14, 2022 at 9:01 pm

      Ha! Ha! Ocean. Kind of like the busses that go to Century Village, Kings Point, Sunrise Lakes, etc. and those old folks that are as senile as old Joe Biden are looking for two things when they cast their ballot. One is a “D” by their name and the other is, I will let you guess that one, but these communities are in Broward County. How’s that for a hint.🤣

      • TJC

        June 18, 2022 at 11:52 am

        Why give us hints? Are you afraid to say what’s on your mind? Are you afraid you’ll sound like a racist? Fear not, Peachy, we already know that about you. So just go ahead and shit though your mouth the way you want to.

        • TJC

          June 18, 2022 at 11:53 am

          Spelling error, sorry. Shit THROUGH your mouth.

  • Rosie the Riveter

    June 15, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Val Demings is a national embarrassment

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    June 15, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    Qualified Immunity for police needs to go away. This just makes me want to vote for Demings even more.

  • Tjb

    June 16, 2022 at 9:46 am

    Accountability is a dirty word in the New Republican Universe.

  • Nancy

    June 16, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    I’m being paid with 88 dollars/hr to work part time from home. I’ve certainly not tit realized like it’d even achievable however one of my confidant friend was collecting $25,000 within six weeks by working this top job & she had influenced me to try…

    Know further instructions on going following web-link >>> 𝗕𝗨𝗭𝗭𝗝𝗢𝗜𝗡.𝗖𝗢𝗠

  • Andy M

    June 17, 2022 at 4:53 am

    Here is my issue! Where were these police officers outrage when trump did nothing to help the police officers at that capital when they were under siege! Cops were assaulted, spit on , sprayed with bear spray and killed.
    Where is the outrage from the PBA , FOP. Where was Rubio outrage! Instead you pick a sentence in a piece of legislation to swift boat her. Bunch of hypocrites!!!!!!!

  • Earl Pitts American

    June 17, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Good Morning America,
    This could be the election in which the Republicans will wish they had listened to Trump’s characterture of “Little Marco” in the 2016 debates rather than just allowing Rubio to occupy the seat all these years. Demmings is a formable opponent and Florida needs this seat occupied by a Republican. I’m not sure there are enough Floridians in this district willing to “hold their nose” and vote for Marco this time around.

    Well maybe if the White House and that old man who lives there eff things up a whole lot more Little Marco might somehow squeek by for the win. Odd that Marco is in the position now to have to vote for anything to further tank the economey in order to retain his job.
    Hey y’all should have listened to Trump and replaced Marco with a strong Republican a long time ago.
    Thank You America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Berton Prall

    June 26, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    If Val Demmings, on the news this morning is on her high horse (as is all the democrats) about protecting women’s rights per the Roe vs Wade decision made by the Supreme Court putting it back in the hands of the states, which it should be. Why is she and all the other female democratic politicians not showing the same support/respect for these young women in sports and laws/rules being changed to allowing trans individuals to participate in “whatever sex they want to be” programs. The only way to stop this is to NOT vote for people such as Mrs. Demings. That’s right I think she’s now calling herself Chief now after being a Congress Woman because she wants to fool everyone now that she is not part of or supported defund the police. I’ll end this by just stating please go vote this year and in 2024.

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