Ohio Democratic senator in 2020 argued policing ‘reinforces’ racism
Ohio Democratic senator Sherrod Brown in an August letter praised a left-wing prosecutor candidate in Cleveland who has endorsed calls to defund police, end cash bail, and pull cops from schools, a Washington Free Beacon review found.
Brown on August 7 wrote to Cuyahoga County prosecutor hopeful Matthew Ahn to thank the candidate for “speaking out,” a photo of the letter shared by Ahn shows. Ahn, a left-wing law professor known for his progressive views, has long associated himself with the movement to defund police. At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Ahn argued that “nothing short of defunding” would combat the “white supremacist infiltration of police forces.” Ahn also called to “end cash bail” and “end police presence in schools,” and in 2021, the law professor emphasized the need to “rethink the role of police, who continue to protect and serve a social order that never had any value to begin with.”
Brown’s willingness to associate with Ahn comes as the Democratic senator approaches a difficult reelection bid in a state that backed former president Donald Trump by 8 points in 2020. As Brown approaches that race, he has worked to rally behind police officers—in January, the Democrat lauded law enforcement officials for putting “their lives on the line each day, facing stressful and often dangerous situations, to protect Ohioans.” Following George Floyd’s death in 2020, however, Brown sang a different tune, arguing that police forces that do not make reforms should not receive funding.
“Policing didn’t create our nation’s institutionalized racism. It’s a product of it, and it reinforces it,” Brown said.
Ahn did not return a request for comment. A Brown campaign spokesman said the Democrat’s letter, which came roughly one week after Ahn launched his prosecutorial campaign, referred to an op-ed Ahn wrote on a state ballot measure that did not deal with policing.
But Brown continued to promote Ahn’s campaign after sending the letter—the senator appeared alongside Ahn at a Cleveland-area Labor Day parade, which Ahn said included his ”incredible campaign team and supporters.” Brown’s campaign said the senator “has no plans to endorse” in Ahn’s race and did not answer questions regarding Ahn’s support for the defund police movement.
Ahn is challenging fellow Democrat and incumbent Cuyahoga County prosecutor Michael O’Malley, who has criticized Ahn as both inexperienced and extreme on criminal justice issues.
“He’s never practiced in a courtroom in common pleas in Ohio. He’s the least experienced candidate to ever run for county prosecutor, maybe not just in Cuyahoga, but the entire state,” O’Malley told the Cleveland-based Scene. “Does he think his platform of defund the police—which he’s supported on social media over the years—is appropriate given the level of violence we’re seeing in our community?”
How might Sherrod Brown’s support of a candidate who advocates for defunding the police appeal to progressive voters but alienate more moderate voters who prioritize law and order
Ohio Democratic senator Sherrod Brown has come under scrutiny for his support of a left-wing prosecutor candidate who advocates for defunding the police, ending cash bail, and removing police presence from schools. In an August letter, Brown praised Cuyahoga County prosecutor hopeful Matthew Ahn for “speaking out” on these issues.
Ahn, a progressive law professor, has long been associated with the movement to defund the police. During the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Ahn argued that defunding the police was necessary to combat the “white supremacist infiltration” within law enforcement. He has also called for an end to cash bail and police presence in schools, emphasizing the need to rethink the role of the police in society.
Brown’s support of Ahn raises eyebrows, especially as the senator faces a challenging reelection bid in a state that supported Donald Trump in 2020. However, Brown has tried to strike a balance between supporting law enforcement and addressing racial disparities within the criminal justice system. In January, he praised police officers for their dedication and bravery in protecting Ohioans. But following the death of George Floyd, Brown expressed concerns about how policing contributes to systemic racism in America.
The issue of policing and racial justice has become a contentious one in recent years. Proponents of defunding the police argue that the current system perpetuates racial inequalities and that resources should be redirected towards social and community-based initiatives. Critics, on the other hand, argue that defunding the police would lead to an increase in crime and undermine public safety.
The debate over policing and racial justice is likely to play a significant role in the upcoming election. Brown’s support of Ahn, a candidate who advocates for defunding the police, may appeal to progressive voters but could alienate more moderate voters who prioritize law and order. It remains to be seen how Brown will navigate this delicate issue as he seeks reelection in a divided state.
In conclusion, the support of Ohio Democratic senator Sherrod Brown for a prosecutor candidate who advocates for defunding the police highlights the ongoing debate over policing and racial justice. Brown’s stance on this issue may have implications for his reelection bid, as he tries to strike a balance between supporting law enforcement and addressing systemic racism within the criminal justice system. The outcome of this election will have broader implications for the future of criminal justice reform in Ohio and the country as a whole.
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