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Former Police Chief Val Demings Second Shortest Odds in Veep Stakes

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/31/2020

Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is fast becoming one of the favorites to join the ticket along side the presumed Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

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In the wake of nationwide civil unrest following the death of an unarmed black man at the hands (and knee) of Minneapolis police, Demings is looking like the most logical choice as a Vice Presidential candidate.  The current payout is $500 on every $100 bet or $50 for every $10 bet.

Demings, an African American woman, serves as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 10th congressional district since 2017. She was previously the Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to lead the department. 

Biden has already confirmed he will be selecting a female as his running mate.  Demings also serves in one of the most critical swing states.

The death of George Floyd has resulted in protests across the country, some of which turned violent over the weekend.

Demings time serving as Orlando police chief was not without its imperfections.

In 2010, an Orlando police officer flipped 84-year-old Daniel Daley over his shoulder to the ground after the man became belligerent, breaking a vertebra in his neck.  Daley alleged excessive force and filed a lawsuit. The police department cleared the officer as "justified".  That notion was mostly supported by Demings at the time.  Ultimately a court awarded Daley $880,000 in damages. 

In 2010, the last full year that Demings served as chief, "the agency used force 574 times, 20 percent more than officers in Baton Rouge, a similarly-sized city with a similar minority-majority population mix and a police department of about the same size".

Nevertheless, Demings is seen as having broad appeal. Until now her main impediment has been a lack of national spotlight.

Jack Fitzpatrick of The Atlantic writes: "Val Demings has unique appeal as an African-American former police chief running for Congress."

He points out that, when Demings first ran for Congress in 2012, discussion of her tenure leading the OPD tended to start and stop at one statistic: a 43.6 percent drop in violent crime from 2007 to 2011.

But Fitzpatrick does remind readers that Demings has not spoken out about criminal justice since she announced her 2016 congressional run, but it will be hard to avoid.

There is certainly a lot of good that came out of Demings tenure as Orlando police chief.

From The Atlantic:

She has a reputation for taking a holistic approach to policing that could get more play this time around. Stephanie Porta, a progressive organizer who supported Demings for Orange County mayor in 2014, said one of Demings’s biggest accomplishments was launching a project that included providing childcare and constructing a park at a crime-ridden apartment complex, which helped reduce crime there. (Demings ended up dropping out of the mayoral race.).

Fitzpatrick also writes that the lawsuits against the Orlando Police Department were not a major knock against Demings in her last congressional run.

This past week, Demings penned an opt-ed in the Washington Post that asks her brothers and sisters in blue, "What the hell are you doing?"

"When citizens were in trouble (if they had to call the police, they weren’t having a good day), they called really believing that when we arrived, things would get better. That they would be safe," Demings wrote. "But we are painfully reminded that all too often, things do not get better. Matter of fact, they can get much worse — with deadly results." 

She added, "We all know that the level of force must meet the level of resistance. We all can see that there was absolutely zero resistance from George Floyd. He posed no threat to anyone, especially law enforcement." 

Demings wasn't finished, saying that the officers involved in Floyd's death must be "held accountable through the criminal-justice system." 

Only one of the four responding police officers involved in Floyd's death is charged as of this writing.

Currently, California Senator Kamala Harris is favored in the Veep Stakes at 5/4 odds.  However, she failed to run an effective campaign for President and dropped out early. 

She also comes with some unwanted baggage.

As an attorney general, people often criticized Kamala Harris for being overly cautious, basically for siding with law enforcement too often, noted Chris Cadelago of Politico in an interview with NPR

Not surprisingly, Minnesota Senator and former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar has seen her VP chances slip dramatically in recent days.  

Coming in at 8/1 odds, it's been reported that Klobuchar failed to prosecute the only officer charged thus far in Floyd's death stemming from a 2006 incident.

Derek Chauvin was alleged to have been a part of a group of officers who fired on and killed a man they say aimed a shotgun at police after stabbing his friend and girlfriend. 

“This idea that I somehow declined a case — which has been reported on some news blogs and then sent out on the internet — against this officer is absolutely false. It is a lie,” Klobuchar told MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

“Back when I was the county attorney, the cases that we had involving officer-involved shootings went to a grand jury,” Klobuchar also said. “I think that was wrong now. I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself. But let me make this clear: We did not blow off these cases. We brought them to a grand jury, presented the evidence for a potential criminal prosecution, and the grand jury would come back with a decision.”

Reports surfaced Sunday that Team Biden is expressing the sentiment towards Klobuchar "we need to avoid her".

“Vertiginous,” a campaign adviser said in a one-word text, describing Klobuchar’s fall in the rankings of potential running mates.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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