Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
The tough-on-crime mantra has played a prominent role in Republican Party politics in recent decades, especially when communities of color are involved. But Republicans aren’t always so tough on crime when they are the ones who run into problems with the law—and when Julie McDonald, a GOP judicial candidate in Oakland County, Michigan, was recently arrested on suspicion of DUI, her request for preferential treatment was denied.
According to a police report, McDonald was pulled over by police in Royal Oak, Michigan after allegedly throwing a cigarette out of her car window and speeding.
A newly released police video shows McDonald exiting the vehicle and submitting to field sobriety tests; when a breathalyzer showed her to be over the legal limit, McDonald was handcuffed behind her back and placed under arrest.
In the back seat of a police car, McDonald is heard telling police, “I’m running for an office right now. This will fuck me up really bad”—to which the officer replied, “There’s not a lot of discretion I have with something like this.”
Despite being handcuffed in back, McDonald managed to make a call using her smartphone and told someone, “I’m in the back of a police car….I’m not joking, I’m screwed. Please come help me, please.”
According to the police report, McDonald had been consuming mixed drinks.
McDonald’s arrest recalls a similar incident involving a different Republican—New Mexico State Rep. Monica Youngblood—earlier this year. On May 20, Youngblood was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Albuquerque.
Youngblood (who, unlike McDonald, refused to take a breathalyzer test) had campaigned on a tough-on-crime platform in 2012, 2014 and 2016—including tougher penalties for DUI and reinstating the death penalty in New Mexico. But when she was handcuffed in the back seat of a police car, McDonald argued that police should cut her some slack because “I literally fight for you guys.”
In a police video, Youngblood is also heard saying, “So many people tell me that you guys treat people of color like shit, and I always stood up for you.”
On October 3, Youngblood was sentenced to one day in jail, a year of probation and community service. Youngblood must report to the Bernalillo County Jail no later than Friday, October 19; nonetheless, the 41-year-old Republican is seeking reelection in the 2018 midterms and is running against Democratic nominee Karen Bash (a retired minister).
At her sentencing, Youngblood told Judge Kevin Fitzwater, “I am well aware that actions have consequences, and that is something I have talked about my entire time in public service. And I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions that evening.”
McDonald, meanwhile, was charged with DUI, littering and lacking proof of auto insurance. She is running unopposed for a six-year seat on the Oakland County Circuit bench.
Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.