Wisconsin’s Democratic lieutenant governor, who is also running for U.S. Senate, spent hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars for a police security detail despite criticizing law enforcement in the past, Fox News reported.
Mandela Barnes, who is viewed as a heavy favorite to win his Senate primary, shelled out more than $587,000 for a state police detail between Jan. 7, 2019 and Nov. 6, 2021, according to records obtained by Fox News. The sum paid for roughly 8,800 hours of police protection, 4,900 hours for overtime protection and over 200 hours of holiday protection, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Left-Wing Dark Money Groups Boost Dem Candidate Who Pledged To Fight Dark Money, Records Show)
At the same time, Barnes has a history of slamming law enforcement and previously aligned himself with the Defund the Police movement, according to Fox News. The lieutenant governor notably said in a 2021 interview that the U.S. is “built on racism” and lamented the “over-policing” of “communities.”
Barnes tweeted to an activist in 2018, “Don’t know how I missed that reply, but I need that,” after being offered a Democratic Socialists of America shirt saying “Abolish ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
Soon after, the Democratic Socialists of America posted a picture on Reddit with Barnes holding the shirt, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
“Mandela Barnes’ hypocrisy is startling,” Republican Wisconsin state Sen. Julian Bradley, who sits on the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Barnes notably spent nine times more on security in his first two months as lieutenant governor than his Republican predecessor Rebecca Kleefisch had for the entirety of 2018, the Associated Press reported in 2019.
“Racking up as many hours of security protection in a week as his predecessor did in a year while advocating to abolish the police shows a tremendous disconnect between Barnes and the people of Wisconsin,” Bradley told the DCNF.
“You can feel how you want about to calls to reform, defund, or abolish but the question is, how can a system that allows this to happen continue to be upheld?” Barnes also wrote on Twitter in September 2020, linking to a CNN article on the death of Breonna Taylor.
You can feel how you want about to calls to reform, defund, or abolish but the question is, how can a system that allows this to happen continue to be upheld? https://t.co/Wo7lNmIULH
— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) September 24, 2020
While Barnes’ campaign said in July the candidate “does not support defunding the police,” two of his biggest donors have bankrolled the left-wing movement, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Barnes also accepted $28,000 from a political action committee (PAC) that’s board includes Defund the Police activists, the Free Beacon reported.
Wisconsin’s Senate primary is on Aug. 9.
The lieutenant governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Barnes’ campaign.
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