Ohio Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) is projecting a pro-police stance as part of his platform while simultaneously voting to defund them.
On March 3, 2021, Ryan voted against a motion to condemn calls to defund, disband, or abolish the police while at the same time also voting to allow for the federal government to micromanage local police and potentially defund them.
This summer, Ryan’s campaign released an ad against his opponent Republican nominee J.D. Vance accusing Vance of wanting to defund the police.
Less than three years ago, however, Ryan compared first responders and police officers to racists and segregationists by calling them the “New Jim Crow.”
In 2020 he accused the police of mass murder through a letter about police brutality sent to Attorney General William Barr.
“We have seen time and time again the institutional bias within our criminal justice system and the continuous increase of deaths by police,” the letter says.
The Youngstown Ohio Police Chief rebutted the document, saying that Ryan’s accusations lack proper context.
“I reviewed the footnotes provided and they amount to a lot of convoluted crap. Did you even read the references? I suspect a staffer collected the information to support the narrative,” Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees wrote.
The Ohio Fraternal Order Of Police (FOP) endorsed Vance in July stating that they want someone in office that will give law enforcement continuous support.
“We want people who are going to support law enforcement at all times and not just when it’s convenient for them,” Ohio FOP President Gary Wolske said.
Ryan has also allied himself with organizations who support defunding law enforcement like Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s political arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced its endorsement of Ryan for U.S. senator earlier this year.
“Planned Parenthood Action Fund supports calls for national, state, and local governments to shift away from massive spending on police forces that often don’t keep people safe,” the charity states on it’s Action Fund website.
In addition, Ryan’s own past run-ins with law enforcement have come to light as he attempts to showcase himself as a Democrat who is pro-police.
In 1995 he was cited for disorderly conduct after yelling obscenities and throwing drinks at law enforcement. In 1999 he appealed to the judge, asking the court to expunge his record to hide his misconduct. In 2012, Ryan was arrested for public intoxication in Virginia after refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
Meanwhile, Governor Mike DeWine acknowledges violent crime is on the rise.
“Violent crime is spiking nationwide, and here in Ohio, I want to ensure that our local law enforcement agencies have as much support as possible,” DeWine said.
According to FBI data, a total of 1.3 million violent offenses were reported nationwide in 2020, or 388 for every 100,000 people, a 5 percent increase from 2019.
According to the Republican National Committee (RNC), Ryan’s claims to be pro-police will not hold up in the upcoming midterm election.
“If Tim Ryan wants to make law enforcement an issue in this election, then he can ride his own record straight to defeat this November,” RNC spokesperson Matthew Fisher said.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected].