Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the state’s Democratic candidate for Senate, received an endorsement from a major racial justice group that supports defunding and disbanding the police.
The political action committee (PAC) for Color of Change, which former Obama White House adviser Van Jones co-founded in 2005, announced in August that it would support Beasley’s bid for Senate in large part because of her platform of “reforming the criminal justice system.” Color of Change regularly posts on social media in support of anti-police policies and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Police brutality shows us that more cops in Black neighborhoods doesn’t keep us safe, it harms Black people,” the group tweeted in 2020. “It’s time to invest in what really keeps Black communities safe – community-led health + safety strategies, not more policing. Text DEFUND to 55156. #DefundThePolice.”
“More police in Black neighborhoods, actually harms Black people,” the group said in another tweet one day later.
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Color of Change is currently led by Rashad Robinson, an activist who has vocally supported defunding the police. Robinson also sits on the board of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a progressive group that favors abolishing the police and prison systems.
“Policing is a violent institution that must end,” Robinson said in a statement in 2020. “We imagine a country where there is enough money to educate our children, care for our sick and feed those who are financially unstable. Defunding the police allows for this vision.”
Shortly after Color of Change PAC endorsed Beasley, though, her campaign unveiled a pro-police initiative. As part of the initiative, she announced a slew of new policies she would support including bolstering public safety and mending the relationship between the Democratic Party and law enforcement.
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Still, Beasley has previously supported “ending the cash bail system” and once said there is “great value in that premise” of dismantling and restructuring the criminal justice system during her time on the North Carolina Supreme Court. Beasley sidestepped a question about her support for cashless bail during an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
“Color Of Change PAC is proud to support Cheri Beasley, a candidate focused on real solutions to address public safety,” Jennifer Edwards, the senior director of Color of Change PAC, told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“Black communities in North Carolina deserve to have a voice in Congress who is advocating for us, and throughout her term as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Cheri has demonstrated her commitment to making our communities stronger and safer,” Edwards continued.
Beasley’s campaign did not respond to a question about Color of Change PAC’s endorsement, but reiterated its support for law enforcement. The campaign also said Beasley’s opponent, Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., has voted against funding the police four times.
“As a former judge who partnered with law enforcement for over 20 years, Cheri has made clear that she supports funding the police,” Beasley spokesperson Dory MacMillan told Fox News Digital.
“The only candidate in the North Carolina Senate race who has voted against police funding is Congressman Budd, who voted on four separate occasions against $32 million in funding for police.”
The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NCPBA), North Carolina Troopers Association and Fraternal Order of Police have all endorsed Budd. The NCPBA previously endorsed Beasley during her campaigns for the state judicial positions.
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“Other folks might prefer the Defund the Police crowd, but I’m proud to stand with the NCPBA and law enforcement officers across North Carolina who protect and serve our communities,” Budd said in September after receiving the NCPBA’s endorsement.
Recent polling in the race to fill the seat held by retiring Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., show Budd with a slight advantage over Beasley. The Cook Political Report rates it as a “lean R” race.
Fox News Digital reporter Kyle Morris contributed to this report. The Associated Press contributed to this report.