Halloween came early at the Georgia Senate debate Friday as Republican candidate and serial abortion procurer Herschel Walker flashed a “prop” badge onstage and continued to pretend he works in law enforcement.
In recent months, Walker has been accused of exaggerating his career in law enforcement in past interviews and speeches. “I worked in law enforcement, so I had a gun” and “I work with the Cobb County Police Department” were among the Walker claims that were ultimately refuted by law enforcement agencies. (Walker also claimed he “trained with the FBI,” another confabulation.)
Walker’s opponent and incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock poked fun at Walker’s claims — as well as a 2001 report where the former football star threatened a shootout with police — during the debate. On the topic of law enforcement, Warnock quipped, “One thing I have not done – I’ve never pretended to be a police officer.”
As the audience responded to Warnock’s jab and moderator Tina Tyus-Shaw attempted to move on to a different subject, Walker reached into his coat pocket and whipped out a badge of unknown origin.
“What’s so funny about that is I am— work with many police officers,” Walker said.
The stunt earned an admonishment from Tyus-Shaw, who chastised Walker for bringing a “prop” onstage, a violation of debate rules.
“Please, out of respect, I need to let you know, Mr. Walker, you are very well aware of the rules tonight,” Tyus-Shaw said. “And you have a prop. That is not allowed. sir. I ask you to put that prop away.”
“This is not a prop,” Walker insisted. “This is real.”
Tyus-Shaw repeatedly asked Walker to holster his badge, which he eventually did. “Thank you,” Tyus-Shaw said, “for putting that prop away.”
It’s unclear where Walker acquired his “prop” badge and from which department he received it; in the past, the only evidence of law enforcement work the candidate had revealed was a “Special Deputy Sheriff” card — making him “an honorary agent” — given to him by then-Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, who unsurprisingly endorsed Walker’s candidacy this past summer.
“He led trainings on leadership, advocated for mental health, encouraged countless officers, and was always there to lend a hand whenever we needed him,” Warren said at the time. “I was proud to name him as an honorary deputy sheriff due to his tireless efforts in support of law enforcement.”
However, being a “Special Deputy Sheriff” does not come with arrest authority, and as one prosecutor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it’s “meaningless” and the equivalent of “a junior ranger badge.”
Under Georgia code Section 16-10-23, “A person who falsely holds himself out as a peace officer or other public officer or employee with intent to mislead another into believing that he is actually such officer commits the offense of impersonating an officer and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both.”