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- Handel’s ad shows McBath participating in a rally against police misconduct and racism, where McBath marched alongside the local police chief.
In a rematch of a race that helped flip control of the U.S. House to Democrats, Republican Karen Handel accuses Georgia Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath of "supporting those who attack the police."
Handel makes the accusation in a TV ad. Handel lost the Atlanta-area seat to McBath in 2018.
The 6th District rematch is one of 18 pivotal House and Senate contests up for election on Nov. 3 that PolitiFact is tracking.
The key scene in the ad shows McBath participating in a demonstration, where one marcher behind McBath holds a sign comparing police to the Ku Klux Klan.
But the demonstration is against police misconduct, not against police — and McBath is shown marching alongside the local police chief.
Handel served in the House from June 2017 to January 2019, after winning a special election to fill the remainder of the term of Tom Price, who resigned to serve in the Trump administration. She is the former chairwoman of the Fulton County (Ga.) Commission and the former secretary of state of Georgia.
Handel opens her ad, over video clips of violence, vandalism and fires in the streets, by saying: "Neighborhoods and businesses trashed. People attacked; police, demonized. It’s hit too close to home."
Then she appears on the screen and says: "Standing up for law enforcement used to be a bipartisan issue. Sadly, today, it’s not."
A clip of McBath holding a megaphone and marching with others in a street appears. Then the focus turns to a sign, held by someone behind and near McBath, with a message that compares police to the Ku Klux Klan.
"My opponent? She’s supporting those who attack the police, playing partisan politics and making things worse," Handel claims. "In our community, police officers have always had our back. In Congress, I’ll have theirs."
The clip showing McBath and the sign is from a demonstration June 13 in Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta. An Atlanta Journal Constitution news story carried this headline: "Hundreds, including police chief, march in Roswell against misconduct."
The main photo with the story shows the sign in the background with McBath walking and talking alongside Roswell Police Chief James Conroy, who told the demonstrators police agencies must change. Conroy has spoken about the need for accountability, racial tolerance and diversity in police departments. The AJC caption says hundreds of peaceful marchers joined in the march to protest racism and police brutality.
Asked to substantiate the claim that McBath is supporting those who attack the police, Handel’s campaign sent PolitiFact a statement that begins by saying: "McBath marched beside signs comparing the police to the KKK. She’s endorsed by groups and members of Congress who are vocal supporters of the defund the police movement — which, in our viewpoint, is an attack on police."
But McBath can’t be held responsible for the actions of other people in a demonstration. And groups or members of Congress endorsing McBath is not the same as McBath supporting efforts to defund the police.
Beyond the ad, Handel’s campaign cited to PolitiFact votes cast by McBath, such as a vote favoring a bill that would require the release of certain prisoners deemed not to be a risk for violence and a vote against a bill that would have required a study of antifa.
But neither vote amounts to an attack on police.
Handel claimed McBath "is supporting those who attack the police."
Handel’s TV ad, which shows McBath participating in a march, attempts to link McBath to a marcher holding a sign that compares police with the KKK.
But the march was to protest police misconduct and racism, and the ad itself shows that McBath marched alongside the local police chief.
We rate the statement False.
YouTube, Karen Handel ad, Aug. 24, 2020
Interview, Karen Handel campaign spokesman Brian Robinson, Sept. 3, 2020
Interview, Lucy McBath campaign spokesman Jake Orvis, Sept. 8, 2020
Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Hundreds, including police chief, march in Roswell against misconduct," June 13, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives, roll call on H.R. 6800, May 15, 2020
Breitbart, "House Democrats Block Funding for Police, Small Business Aid," Aug. 22, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives, amendment 2 roll call, June 17, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives, amendment 2, accessed Sept. 3, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives, collective bargaining limitations amendment, accessed Sept. 3, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives, collective bargaining limitations roll call, June 17, 2020
Roll Call, "House pitches justice system changes in new COVID-19 relief bill," May 12, 2020
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