A Florida state senator running for re-election has denied allegations that his support for Black Lives Matter is connected to terrorism. His Republican opponent, Rep. Frank Artiles, distributed campaign materials that claimed Sen. Dwight Bullard voted against keeping local communities safe because of his allegiance to the social justice movement, New York Daily News reported Wednesday.
In a bilingual mailing advertisement from Artiles' campaign, Bullard is featured in a photo wearing a black hoodie. Bullard said the 2012 photo taken outside of a state House of Representatives meeting was a response to the high profile shooting that year of black teenager Trayvon Martin, who was also wearing a hoodie at the time of his death. The killing led to the start of the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.
“When Dwight Bullard met with a terrorist organization ... he made us all less safe,” the ad read.
Bullard stated that the ad was a form of Islamophobia. “I think it’s ridiculous and disgusting,” he added.
In a different ad, Artiles alleged Bullard was the only senator who “voted to release violent criminals and sexual delinquents in our community.” However, it was noted that the Republican was vague with the distribution of details during the ad. The vote Artiles’ refers to was that of a failed bill that Bullard was against but eventually the two ending up supporting the bill, the Miami Herald reported.
“They (Republican Committee and Artiles) are spending a robust amount of money to frame me,” Bullard said. Despite the ads, Bullard stated that he will continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement. “I’m not hiding from who I am and what I voted for,” Bullard stated.
“Whether in a phone booth in the middle of Kendall or a Cuban restaurant in the middle of Westchester, I have no problem standing toe to toe with Frank Artiles on why I should be — and continue to be — a state senator versus his record of hate and hate-mongering, he added.”