Cory Mills, a Republican candidate running for Florida’s 7th district primary, co-founded a company that sold tear gas used against Black Lives Matter demonstrators, reported POLITICO. (Reports also say the company sold rubber bullets to Hong Kong to crack down on their protestors as well.) The money Mills made through the company has funded his campaign run for Congress, according to his campaign finance disclosures, per POLITICO.
PACEM Solutions is known for selling arms and riot-control gear to law enforcement as well as training police and private security nationally and globally, reported POLITICO. During the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, the tear gas used against the demonstrators came from PACEM. Even Rep. Cori Bush spoke out on her own experiences with the tear gas, condemning its sale.
“This unregulated, violent and deadly chemical weapon can cause long-lasting health damage to community members, including asthma, respiratory failure and even death,” Bush said to POLITICO.
More on the company from POLITICO:
Four congressional Democrats asked PACEM CEO Andrew Knaggs for more information on the health hazards of the company’s tear gas products as well as records of sales to U.S. law enforcement agencies.
In a written response to questions from POLITICO, Mills said that PACEM was “proud” to sell tear gas to law enforcement agencies in 2020, citing looting and vandalism that followed some demonstrations.
“Products like tear gas are sanctioned and utilized by the Department of Defense and state and federal health departments,” Mills said in his response. “They are used on a daily basis to train our military personnel and [law enforcement officers]. Each officer or military member, who utilizes these irritants, must experience these irritants prior to certification. I for one, am thankful that our officers have less lethal options available to ensure order and preserve lives.”
Overall, Mills is the type of Republican candidate you’d expect him to be. Reports say he criticized critical race theory (I mean, it’s Florida), he condemned vaccine mandates and accused the Biden administration of being “weak” and “woke” which he claims encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine. He’s also made great financial contributions to the Republican party at the federal level, donating almost $30,000 to GOP House leadership and the Republic National Committee.
Per the polls, Mills is toe-to-toe with Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, second in line behind Rep. Lee Constantine.