Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Democratic Florida Rep. Val Demings have reportedly risen as potential running mates for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden’s consideration of Bottoms was confirmed by two sources “with knowledge of the discussions,” and Demings, a former Orlando Police Chief said that she is being vetted as a potential running mate, Politico reported.
The campaign has chosen both of the African American women for their ability to act as messengers who have received national media exposure amid widespread unrest, according to Politico.
Biden campaign advisers and surrogates said that the search for a running mate remains unsettled, but has alluded that the pick will be female, Politico reported. The campaign has considered the need for an African American vice president as “an evolution” a source familiar with the internal discussion said.
Bottoms deferred questions about being Biden’s potential vice presidential pick to the campaign, Politico reported.
“I can tell you that obviously like so many mayors and governors across this country, my complete focus has been on our streets the last few days,” Bottoms said.
Bottoms criticized rioters and looters who took to the streets of Atlanta on May 29. Bottoms said they “disgraced Martin Luther King’s legacy of enacting change through peaceful protest.”
“A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated we didn’t do this to our city. So if you love this city…if you care about this city, then go home,” she said.
To protect our communities and the life, liberty, and safety of every American, it is vital that we hold bad cops accountable, end unjust practices, increase transparency, and refocus police on their core mission: to protect and serve every American, regardless of their race. pic.twitter.com/CgLGKoQbja
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) June 8, 2020
Current focus on police conduct has raised attention toward Demings given her unique background as an African American congresswoman and former police chief actively calling for the reform of law enforcement, Politico reported.
Though her law enforcement background could be controversial among activists, her ability to speak on the topic of police reform as an African American is seen as an advantage by the Biden campaign. (RELATED: Potential Biden VP Pick Val Demings Calls Proposal To Defund Police ‘Very Thoughtful’)
“To protect and serve, we all need to make adjustments. You know why we see police chiefs and officers walking hand in hand with protesters? You know why we see some officers taking a knee?…They know the criminal justice system they work in needs to be reformed,” Demings told Politico.
Though the Orlando Police Department has a history of excessive use of force, Demings was recognized for leading in social justice at the agency by the NAACP regional chapter president at the time she was chief, Politico reported.
The Orlando Sentinel reported 3,100 instances of use of excessive force including being shocked, physically hit or kicked and the use of pepper spray by the Orlando Police Department from 2010 to 2014.
While no major deaths or instances of brutality occurred during her tenure, Demings once did not lock her police car and her 9 mm Sig Sauer gun, ammo, handcuffs and baton were stolen from the vehicle, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Demings was issued a “written censure” for not properly securing her vehicle.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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