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VA Gubernatorial Candidate Gets Upset With Sheriff Questioning Endorsement From Anti-Police Group

Roanoke, VA – Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor as the Democratic candidate, lost his cool on Sept. 15 at a Virginia sheriff who asked him whether he would support law enforcement (video below).

McAuliffe spoke to a large group of law enforcement officials at a Virginia Sheriffs Association (VSA) conference in Roanoke on Sept. 15, FOX News reported.

It began on a high note when the candidate told the assembled sheriffs that he would veto legislation ending qualified immunity for police officers in Virginia, WDBJ reported.

“I never want anybody who is out there in good faith protecting us worried that they’re going to be sued,” he explained. “I wouldn’t support that. I didn’t before, I had sheriffs’ back on every single issue when I was governor. I’m not going to change it this time around.”

“That’s why they call it qualified immunity,” McAuliffe continued. “It doesn’t go to those who break the law, but if you’re acting in good faith, you’re going to get 100% protection. And I will be there. And I will guarantee that.”

But when the candidate took questions after his speech, Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin went to the microphone to ask McAuliffe about an endorsement he received from the New Virginia Majority, an anti-police group that wants to abolish police and prisons.

“Now, first of all, Sheriff, I’m proud to accept any endorsements. I get hundreds and hundreds and hundreds,” McAuliffe replied. “I can’t – groups that endorse me, I don’t know whether they do.”

“Have I ever supported defund the police? Are you out of your mind?” he ranted. “I’ve invested in law enforcement – I just went through 25 minutes of telling you what I do for the police. Not defunded, I funded them!”

“So you’ll never support defunding?” Sheriff Partin asked.

“I won’t even dignify that with an answer,” McAuliffe yelled at him. “If my track record of four years as governor is not enough for you to understand how I feel on law enforcement, I will not dignify that with an answer.”

“Unbelievable,” Sheriff Partin replied. “I don’t believe an answer to either one of those questions.”

“I don’t care what you believe,” the candidate said angrily. “I’ve got a track record. And I’m proud of that track record.”

Sheriff Partin told FOX News afterwards that when McAuliffe accepted the endorsement of the New Virginia Majority, the former governor tweeted that he was proud to accept their endorsement and wrote “it’s past time to defund the police.”

“He’s angry at me, number one, because I have publicly supported his opponent, who I believe will defend us and defend our commonwealth and keep our community safe. And that’s what all of the sheriffs want to do,” the sheriff explained.

“We don’t need anybody working against us,” he told FOX News.

Sheriff Partin said law enforcement leadership needed support from the next governor.

“Sheriffs and police chiefs and our state police partners – we’re all doing everything we can, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to retain the good people that we need and even harder to hire,” the sheriff said. “Things are not getting any better, and we’ve got to start getting some support.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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