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Demings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDemocrat Nikki Fried teases possible challenge to DeSantis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Democrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor MORE (D-Fla.) was asked about a a potential run for Senate after she clashed with Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump Roy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney's old position MORE (R-Ohio) on Tuesday during a hearing on hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday morning, panelist and former Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri Republicans move to block Greitens in key Senate race Democratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Demings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding MORE (D-Mo.) applauded Demings for the "righteous indignation" she displayed in rebuking Jordan and asked her, "On behalf of the people of Florida, can we please call you Sen. Demings?" 

"Well as you can see, based on yesterday, we still have a heck of a lot of work to do [in the House]," Demings responded. "What I can tell you is I am going to continue to do what I have tried to do in every position I have had, which is to remember my oath and fulfill our most important mission, and that is the protection of the American people, and I am going to continue to do that regardless of the title that I hold."

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Demings, a former police chief in Orlando, Fla., sparred with Jordan after Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee proposed an amendment to a hate crime bill that would have prevented police departments from losing funding. 

“Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be used as pawns!” Demings yelled at Jordan, pounding her hand on the dais. "But now today, you support law enforcement. Well that's ... I'm delighted to know that, but don't support them when it's politically convenient for you to do so." 

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Demings also said on MSNBC that if Republicans were serious about supporting police, they would have backed the American Rescue Plan, which allocated millions in funding for local governments, and not remained "silent" in response to the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol, when Capitol Police officers were attacked by a pro-Trump mob.

The back-and-forth between Demings and Jordan came just hours before a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial was announced on Tuesday, which the congresswoman said signified a moment of change for people wishing to see major police reforms and an end to police brutality and systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

"It is something we have seen before in this country," Demings said during another appearance Wednesday morning on CNN's "New Day" in reference to cases of police officers charged with abusing or killing Black people during arrests.

"We are not the America that we should be, but I think yesterday signifies that we are moving in the right direction to become the America that we were created to be," she said. 

 

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Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murdering George Floyd at the end of a trial widely seen as a referendum on policing of Black people across the country.

Floyd's murder in May sparked massive demonstrations across the nation and renewed the public conversation about police reform.

Democrats hope they can use the verdict in the Chauvin case to spur efforts to pass comprehensive legislation related to policing and criminal justice reform.

During the CNN interview, Demings, who was reportedly on President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE's list of potential running mates last year, also praised the law enforcement officers who testified against Chauvin during his trial, saying that calling out bad policing is essential to reform efforts.

"The chief of police came in and talked about what Chauvin did was not their policies or their ethics," she said. "We have not seen that before. So I believe it is a turning point and it is incumbent on all of us in all our respective places to keep the wheels of justice turning."

Days after Floyd was murdered, Demings penned an op-ed in The Washington Post titled: "My fellow brothers and sisters in blue, what are you doing?"

"Everyone wants to live in safer communities and to support law enforcement and the tough job they do every day. But this can’t go on. The senseless deaths of America’s sons and daughters — particularly African American men — is a stain on our country," she wrote. "Let’s work to remove it."