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Rubio's ad mischaracterized Demings' stance. Throughout her campaign, Demings rebutted suggestions that she supports defunding the police.
The ad cited a June 8, 2020, interview in which Demings was asked about a proposal in Minneapolis to dismantle the police. Her full comments show she did not take a position on the measure.
Demings said the city's council "is being very thoughtful in terms of looking at all of the services that police provide," adding that she believed community leaders and law enforcement would collaborate to improve policing.
An ad from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign takes his opponent in Florida's U.S. Senate race, Democratic Rep. Val Demings, out of context — undermining her background in law enforcement.
The 30-second ad published on YouTube July 19 features several uniformed law enforcement personnel bashing Demings' voting record in Congress and calling her a "radical rubber stamp."
"Demings votes with Pelosi 100% of the time," one officer said, invoking data from ProPublica that showed Demings and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed on 100% of votes in the 116th Congress, which ended Jan. 3, 2021.
"She called abolishing the police 'thoughtful,'" another said, motioning air quotes.
The campaign ad included a footnote citing a June 8, 2020, CBS interview.
That day — about two weeks after footage showed George Floyd, a Black man, being killed by a white Minneapolis police officer — Tony Dokoupil of CBS This Morning quizzed Demings on her views on law enforcement reform.
He zeroed in on a proposal in Minneapolis to "dismantle and rebuild" the city's police department. "Is that a strategy you could agree with?" Dokoupil asked Demings.
Demings, Orlando's former police chief, said, "I do believe that everyone has a right to look at any proposal that is put forth because there desperately needs to be change. I also believe the council is being very thoughtful in terms of looking at all of the services that police provide."
She also said she believed the city's council would devise a plan "to keep Minneapolis safe but also bring the community and the police together in a much-needed and long overdue way."
Demings did not express support for "abolishing the police," as Rubio's ad suggested.
Throughout her campaign, Demings rebutted suggestions that she supports defunding the police. In a Sept. 22, 2020, interview with NPR, for example, Demings said she would do everything she could to ensure law enforcement agencies were not defunded.
"What I know from my on-the-ground experience is that all communities want to be safe," Demings said. "If resources are taken away from police departments, the most vulnerable communities would be disproportionately impacted yet again."
Demings went further in a June 12 ad that highlighted her nearly three decades in law enforcement. "In the Senate, I'll protect Florida from bad ideas. Defunding the police: That's just crazy."
A Rubio campaign ad said Demings "called abolishing the police 'thoughtful.'"
PolitiFact found that the ad misrepresented what Demings said when asked about a proposal in Minneapolis to dismantle the police. In the interview, Demings didn't take a position on the measure, adding that she believed community leaders and law enforcement would collaborate to improve policing.
The ad gave Demings' words a very different spin. We rate it False.
YouTube, Marco Rubio ad: Maybe, July 19, 2022
Marco Rubio, tweet, June 28, 2022
Email interview with Elizabeth Gregory, spokesperson for Rubio, July 20, 2022
Email interview with Christian Slater, spokesperson for Demings, July 20, 2022
ProPublica, Head to Head: Compare Voting Records, assessed July 25, 2022
YouTube, Demings on police reform, systemic racism in law enforcement, June 8, 2020
NPR, Rep. Val Demings looks back at her past 4 years in Congress, Sept. 22, 2020
Tampa Bay Times, Val Demings: I do not want to defund the police, June 29, 2022
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