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Herschel Walker is too childish to realize the danger of his toy badge

Georgia’s GOP Senate hopeful leans into pretending to be a law enforcement figure in the state where Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by men acting out the same.


Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers played cops, too.

Last November, a jury in Georgia found three white men guilty of chasing Arbery and murdering him in a modern-day lynching captured on a video kept by one of his killers. 

In their failed defense argument, the father-son duo who initiated the chase baselessly alleged that Arbery, an avid jogger, was responsible for thefts in the area and had been running through the neighborhood to escape being caught. The men — one of whom is a former police officer — claimed they were protected by law for playing the role. 

Defense attorneys also claimed the men had been conducting a legal arrest on Arbery, citing a slavery-inspired citizen’s arrest law that has since been repealed. The trial made for one of the most sickening moments in modern American history … and Georgia’s GOP Senate candidate just doesn’t get it.  

Herschel Walker, to catch you up, has been roundly mocked ever since he held up an honorary police badge as a real one during last week’s debate with Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent.

The moment came as Warnock was referring to accurate reports that Walker has falsely portrayed himself as having worked in law enforcement (along with his history of violence). But Walker, too petulant to cop to an obvious lie, has instead leaned in on the deceptiveness. His campaign announced that it had ordered 1,000 prop badges resembling Walker’s — which was given to him by a sheriff in Georgia — as a fundraising tool.

I want to be clear: Herschel Walker’s badge has no authority whatsoever. He can’t stop anyone. He can’t arrest anyone. It is, for all intents and purposes, a toy. Or, as NBC’s Kristen Welker said, invoking words by the National Sheriffs’ Association during an interview with Walker: The badge is an item “for the trophy case.”

As The New York Times noted, law enforcement agencies commonly give honorary badges to celebrities — especially well-known athletes like Walker.

Yet he has continued to imply the badge gives him authority everyday citizens don’t have — an assumption of power that’s particularly troubling in Georgia. 

If he’s falsely touting a powerless badge as some sign of his authority, what’s stopping the 1,000 people with “I’m with Walker” badges from doing the same?

The Republican Party that Walker belongs to is a mostly white party with many members who widely and repeatedly throw their support behind white vigilantes who kill. Conservatives’ celebration of extrajudicial violence committed by white people — men especially — is clear in the right-wing support for proud killers such as George Zimmerman and Kyle Rittenhouse. Conservatives clearly don’t think badges — or the legal authority they imply — are even necessary for someone to mete out justifiable violence. 

Which makes Walker’s behavior all the more inexcusable: He’s putting on an act without caring how it will ultimately end or whom it will affect.

Walker has publicly said that he’s “not that smart,” and I’m inclined to take him at his word

He has run an infantile campaign, and that’s before you get to the fact he’s now literally playing with toys. 

He can barely express coherent political thoughts, he lies repeatedly, he has insulted marginalized people in the military, and now he’s literally pretending to play cops and robbers. 

But this is no game. It’s a serious matter — not child’s play. And Walker can’t tell the difference.