Democrats flip sheriff’s offices in Cobb, Gwinnett counties in Georgia

Georgia is under new leadership as three Black men have become sheriffs

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The peach state is changing as Georgia elected three Black sheriffs in their counties on Tuesday.

Three counties in Atlanta have elected Black sheriffs for the first time in history. Craig Owens will be the sheriff in Cobb County, Keybo Taylor will reside over Gwinnett and Reginald Scandrett will hold down Henry County per Channel 2 Action News.

Owens spoke with the news outlet and said, “We have an opportunity to make history and that’s something we don’t take lightly.” He added, “We’re gonna come in prepared being the professionals that we are and we’re gonna run this county like it should be. We’re going to treat everybody in this county with dignity and respect.”

Georgia Black sheriff
(Credit: Owens, Taylor and Scandrett)

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Owens has been very vocal about what initiative he plans to work on first in the county including improving the conditions of those who are detained. An Atlanta jail made headlines when a man passed away in August. Owens says this is one of the first issues he planned to tackle.

“The biggest thing we have to do is jump into out detention centers,” he told the outlet.

Owens previously said he planned to withdraw from an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called 287(g) which has a reputation for racial profiling. In September, he told The Appeal that the program, “often turns into profiling, looking at Africans, Latinos, Muslims and other immigrants. It causes all types of problems, is expensive to maintain and I don’t see why the county should be involved in it.”

Owens’ progressive ideas could attest to why he won by a landslide. The new sheriff won by 54.7% to 45.2%, which is a difference of about 35,000 people. Taylor is also in favor of ending the initiative, but there could be an increase in ICE raids if he fails to commit to the program.

“At the end of the day, I still won’t participate,” he said per The Appeal.  

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Taylor sent a message to supporters to thank them for lifting him to victory with 57.21% according to unofficial results.

“Yesterday, we finished the drill,” Taylor said in a letter to supporters on Wednesday. “You lifted your voices at the polls and stood in solidarity with an agenda that includes all of Gwinnett.”

He also pledged to make reform into the controversial ICE program.

“Friends, we share the same passions,” Taylor told supporters. “Along the campaign trail, I spent hours listening to your needs. You voiced concerns for community inclusion, neighborhood safety, the 287(g) program and nonviolent interactions with law enforcement personnel.

“In the upcoming months, my team and I will implement robust plans which will address these concerns. My goal as your sheriff is to lead an office that truly serves the needs of every constituent in our county.”

Scandrett received 60.3% of the vote that has been counted thus far. He campaigned on a platform of reducing recidivism, fostering community relationships and a restorative stance on crime.

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