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Abrams responds to 'defund the police' criticisms by attacking Kemp as weak on crime

Abrams has also said that if elected governor, she would raise the base salaries of some law enforcement officers and expand training for crisis officers.

Stacey Abrams is fighting back against allegations that she's anti-police by attacking her Republican opponent, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, as weak on crime and pledging to give more money to some law enforcement officers if she is elected.

In an ad titled "Truth" released last week, Abrams says: "Brian Kemp wants you to be afraid of me. Why? Because he thinks it will distract Georgians from the truth."

She goes on to pledge her support for law enforcement, list various agencies she worked with as a legislator and accuse Kemp of lying about her record.

Kemp has accused Abrams of supporting the defund the police movement, most recently launching a major ad campaign last week highlighting her past remarks.

Kemp's campaign responded to Abrams' ad by tweeting an edited clip of a CNN interview in which she said she supports "reallocating resources" from police departments into community resources if resources are tight.

Stacey Abrams, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, departs a campaign event in Reynolds, Ga., on June 4, 2022.
Stacey Abrams, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, departs a campaign event in Reynolds, Ga., on June 4, 2022.Dustin Chambers / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Abrams has said that if elected governor, she would raise the base salaries of some law enforcement officers and expand training for officers who specialize in mental health and social services, as part of her public safety plan.

In a separate ad titled "Dangerous," a former deputy sheriff, identified as Dennis, says "Kemp's new law is dangerous" and "makes it easier for criminals to carry loaded guns in public."

Kemp in April signed a law allowing people to carry firearms without a permit.

"This simply allows you not to have to get a piece of paper to legally carry," Kemp told reporters at the time. "And look, the criminals are getting the guns anyway."

"Brian Kemp may talk tough, but he makes us less safe," the ad said. "Because the last place we want more criminals with guns is here," the ex-sheriff deputy said as he points to a school. 

Abrams also deflected questions about her past calls for police accountability by blaming Kemp for rising crime rates in Georgia. During a June appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Abrams said that "violent crime went up 55% in 2019 to 2020 under Brian Kemp ... It happened under Brian Kemp’s leadership. It happened under a president and a governor who believed that punishment rather than a balanced approach was the answer. We know that has never worked."

In actuality, the increase was around 5%, according to Georgia's Uniform Crime Program.

An AARP poll released this month shows Kemp leading Abrams by 7%, boosted by a 14-point edge with Independents. Abrams lost to Kemp in the 2018 governor’s race by about 54,000 votes.