Most of Florida’s top law enforcers have been clear that they don’t trust Andrew Gillum to be Governor of Florida. Comments the Tallahassee Mayor made on a podcast this week may cause even more concern. 

Appearing on Pod Save America, a progressive-leaning podcast, Gillum seemed to place all of the onus on law enforcement in exhibiting total restraint when dealing with suspected criminal behavior. 

“At the time a law enforcement official has to go to a weapon, to a gun, to a baton, to a Taser, then they have already had to go too far,” Gillum said during the interview. 

Gillum made no mention in the interview about the responsibility of Floridians who interact with law enforcement. 

Republican Ron DeSantis has accused Gillum of being soft on crime and presiding over the City of Tallahassee when Leon County had the highest crime rate in Florida. Three-fourths of the population of Leon County lives in Tallahassee. 

Gillum has also been criticized for his support of “Dream Defenders,” a group that labels itself as a “Black Liberation” organization. Gillum signed the organization’s “Freedom Pledge,” which promises to “divest Florida from prisons and police” and says that police “have no place” in the justice system.

During Wednesday’s debate, Gillum said the pledge concerned private prisons in Florida, but the pledge only requires a commitment not to take money from private prison company GEO Group and the NRA. By signing the pledge, Gillum committed to “fight for a Florida that divests from prisons, detention centers, guns and police and invests in the basic needs and safety of its people, especially its children.”

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On Thursday, 36 of Florida’s sheriffs sent a letter to Mayor Gillum demanding that he withdraw his pledge from “Dream Defenders.” 

The letter says, “After learning of this organization’s disturbing and anti-law enforcement position and statements, we believe that any candidate wishing to lead our state should in no way be aligned with this radical group.”

Earlier this month, the President of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association went even further, calling Gillum “hostile toward law enforcement.” 

 

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.