Herschel Walker recruits Georgia sheriff to prove his badge is real

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Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker released a video arguing that a sheriff’s badge he flashed at a recent debate was in fact real, at least according to the Johnson County Sheriff.

In the video, Mr Walker stands side by side with Johnson County Sheriff Greg Rowland, and both are holding star-shaped badges.

During a debate on Friday, Mr Walker’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, defended himself against allegations that he was not supportive of the state’s police officers and suggested Mr Walker was pretending to be an officer.

“We will see time and time again tonight, as we’ve already seen, is that my opponent has a problem with the truth. And just because he said something doesn’t mean it’s true. I have supported our police officers,” Mr Warnock said. “You can support police officers as I’ve done through the COPS program, through the Invest to Protect Program, while at the same time holding police officers, like all professions, accountable. One thing I have not done — I’ve never pretended to be a police officer, and … I’ve never threatened a shootout with the police.”

Mr Walker demanded a chance to respond and took the opportunity to flash his badge.

"You know what’s so funny?" Mr Walker said, showing off the badge. "I [have] work[ed] with many police officers."

Laughter erupted in the debate hall. The debate’s moderator, Tina Tyus-Shaw, chastised Mr Walker for breaking the rules by bringing a "prop" on-stage.

"It’s not a prop, it’s real," Mr Walker shot back.

The Republican candidate was met with mockery by critics on social media. Apparently in a response to the moderator calling his badge a "prop," Mr Walker has since gone on to post a video with Mr Rowland to prove his affiliation with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.

"If Herschel’s badge is a prop, then I guess this badge I wear every day to protect the citizen is a prop also," Mr Rowland says in the video. "But these are real badges and I gave this to my friend for all he’s done for this country and this county."

Mr Rowland acknowledged that while Mr Walker’s badge is a genuine sheriff’s badge, it grants no power to Mr Walker to act as a law enforcement officer, according to NBC News.

“It’s a real badge, exactly like the one I wear every day. Now, he doesn’t have arrest powers or anything like that,” he said in an interview.

However, in the interview with NBC News, Mr Walker claimed that the "badge give me the right … if anything happened in this county, I have the right to work with the police getting things done."

Pero the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, J. Terry Norris, honorary badges like the one Mr Walker owns are frequently given by sheriffs to individuals who support law enforcement, but do not provide law enforcement powers.

Mr Warnock was not impressed by Mr Walker’s explanation.

“My opponent, Herschel Walker, is not ready,” Mr Warnock told reporters, per NBC, on Monday. “I pointed out the fact that he claimed to be in law enforcement — to be a police officer — and that he threatened a shootout with the police. And his response was to produce a fake badge? The people of Georgia deserve a serious person to represent them in serious times.”