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Josh King Concedes Prince William Sheriff Race to Glen Hill, Advocates for Ending 287g

| November 8, 2019 | 0 Comments | News

Deputy Sheriff Josh King, the first Democrat to run for Sheriff in Prince William County in 16 years, conceded Thursday night to incumbent Sheriff Glen Hill, the Republican endorsed candidate.

It first looked as though each candidates received approximately 45% of the vote, with a third candidate, Rhonda Dickson, receiving approximately 10%. It was then announced that some precincts had difficulty reporting, and it looked as though King had pulled ahead. Ultimately, Hill came out victorious with 56,242 votes to King’s 55,483.

It was a race many people were closely watching as the sheriff has the power to continue or end the county’s controversial 287(g) program, a voluntary partnership with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] whereby the Prince William Police hand over undocumented immigrants to ICE upon arrest.

The 287(g) program was first instituted in Prince William County in 2008, during the Obama administration. Chairman At-large of the Board of County Supervisors Corey Stewart was its biggest advocate. During his 2017 gubernatorial run, Stewart pledged to heighten the program, saying the county would be following up with ICE to find the status of the detainees.

Broadly speaking, conservatives say the program will keep citizens safer and allow the jurisdiction to work in unison with the Federal government. But it is a controversial program King and his fellow Democrats intended to end. They argue it marginalizes minority communities, and not only undocumented immigrants, but people of color in general, especially Latinos. These claims are detailed in a county analysis of the program.

It is also up for debate whether it reduces crime in the county. According to Prince William Police reports, only 2-4 percentage of county crimes are committed by immigrants. However, suspected illegal immigrants commit a large percentage of murders, which appear to be gang-related.

Thursday night, King issued the following statement, conceding the race to Sheriff Glen Hill, and asking that he reconsider his stance on the 287(g) program. As chairman of the Prince William, Manassas and Manassas City Jail Board, King said the sheriff has both a vote and voice in ending the program.

“I congratulate Sheriff Hill on a close but clean victory, and I ask him to end the county’s 287(g) partnership with ICE,” said King. “287(g) is the Jim Crow of the new millennium, and we cannot build public trust between law enforcement and this majority-minority community so long as it exists.”

King said newly elected majority board of supervisors should defund the 287(g) program.”[I] urge them to use the power delegated to them by the people to defund 287(g). The county raised taxes and cut public safety services upon its adoption, which has since cost our community more than $2 million .

“We are living in an era in which our country is putting brown children in cages,” King said, referring to ICE’s treatment of minors at the U.S. Mexico border under the Trump administration, including its policy of separating of families, and housing conditions for immigrants and children.

“Now more than ever, it is our moral imperative to do everything we can to end discrimination against and the dehumanization of immigrants and people of color. With a Democratic majority, the Board of Supervisors can and should defund this program. There is no time for timidity.”

“Virginia was recently ranked the worst state in the country when it comes to the school-to-prison pipeline, and Prince William County recently committed  $44 million to expand our jail by more than 200 beds ,” said King. “Building a bigger cage does nothing to address the root causes of crime.”

“This race was never about me. It was about building public trust between law enforcement and marginalized communities. It was about meaningful criminal justice reform, so that 50 years from now our children aren’t talking about the same things Dr. King was talking about 50 years ago. And it was about the many, many people and organizations who believed in the progress we were fighting for. That fight does not end with this campaign.”

Josh King is a 38-year-old Iraq War vet, deputy sheriff, advocate for people with special needs, and leader in his local SEIU. He and his wife Candi live in Dumfries and are the proud parents of three children, including a non-verbal teenage daughter with autism. All of Josh’s children attend Prince William County Schools.

This article may be updated to include comments from Republicans. 

Quotes were provided from a press release published by Joshua King where Bristow Beat provided some additional background information. This article does not signify an endorsement or preference for any candidate on the part of Bristow Beat. 

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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