Private security personnel for Democratic Rep. Val Demings in Florida are making headlines after they were caught on camera pushing a man down during a campaign appearance earlier this month — and putting Democratic hypocrisy on public display.
Demings is a former Orlando, Florida, police chief who has spoken favorably about progressive efforts to cut funding for the police elsewhere. In a 2020 interview with CBS, according to the Washington Free Beacon, she said the ferociously anti-police Minneapolis City Council was being “very thoughtful” in its moves to cut funding for the city’s police. (A move that had disastrous results.)
For a congresswoman with that kind of baggage to have a security team manhandling members of the public who get too close is a bit of bad optics, to say the least.
“It’s easy for Democrats like Val Demings to call defunding the police ‘very thoughtful’ and violent riots ‘a beautiful sight’ when she has her own private security to back her up,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Julia Friedland, according to the website FloridaPolitics.
Demings is the frontrunner in the Aug. 23 Florida primary, seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in November’s midterm election, according to WKMG-TV in Orlando.
The incident with her security staff took place while Demings was visiting campaign supporters at a public park in Brevard County. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, according to FloridaPolitics.
The video shows two individuals jockeying for position at the meet and greet event, but security blocked the unnamed man from entering.
Security guards can be heard calling to the man “Don’t do it,” before tackling him to the ground and telling him, “You can’t get up. Stay down.”
“What are you doing?” the man is heard saying.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language some viewers will find offensive.
BREAKING: Security for Florida senate candidate Val Demmings pushed a video tracker to the ground and sent him to the hospital.
It’s under investigation by police.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 16, 2022
After the initial altercation, as the security guards escort the man away, they can be heard talking.
Here’s the second part of the scuffle in which one of Val Demmings’ security guys tells a video tracker after shoving him to the ground “In corrections, I used to bounce people like you off their head in the jail.” pic.twitter.com/00fcY1Khbp
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 16, 2022
Part of the dialogue comes across pretty clearly as a threat about the future:
“Moving forward don’t take it personal,” the guard said.
“Take what personal?” the man asked.
“What’s going to happen to you,” the guard replied.
According to FloridaPolitics, the guards are employees of Ardent Protection, a company hired by Demings’ campaign.
“The security personnel pushing the man to the ground appears to be Constantino Georgudis, an executive protection officer for Ardent Protection, and Wayne Bacon, vice president of the company,” the website reported.
In the second clip, the man FloridaPolitics suggested may be Bacon based on the experience he describes corresponding to his LinkedIn page, is heard to boast, “In Corrections, I used to bounce people like you off their head in the jail.”
The Western Journal contacted Ardent Protection for comment about the incident. The security company referred questions to the Demings campaign. The Western Journal had not received a response from the Demings campaign prior to publication.
In a Twitter post, Christina Pushaw, the former spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis who has left her job with the governor’s office to work on the DeSantis re-election campaign, pointed out the hypocrisy of a Democratic Party that has made defunding police departments an issue while its employee security teams to ensure their own safety.
Democrats are for defunding police except for their own private security, which they will use to beat up their opponents. https://t.co/nRGHiJym2U
— Christina Pushaw ? ?? (@ChristinaPushaw) August 16, 2022
“Democrats are for defunding police except for their own private security, which they will use to beat up their opponents,” she wrote.
According to FloridaPolitics, the still-unidentified victim appeared to be a video tracker — an operative taking footage of the Demings’ campaign for political foes.
He was reportedly treated at a nearby hospital for minor abrasions and bruises.
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