Controversial Milwaukee Sheriff and Fox News contributor David Clarke wants to counter the allegations put forth by the Black Lives Matter movement about police brutality with a case in support of police officers nationwide.
“My mission right now is defending cops. It’s a full-time mission,” the 59-year-old, cowboy hat-wearing sheriff said during a recent interview. “I’ve got to defend this profession, because no one else is or very few are.”
In recent months, the sheriff has come under fire for referring to Black Lives Matter activists as “subhuman creeps.” His appearance on Fox News has reinforced his ideas that could be interpreted as racial and dehumanizing.
“If there was a white sheriff making those statements, they would have demanded his resignation by now,” said Fred Royal, president of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “His remarks have racist overtones to them. He’s in total denial of the condition the average citizen in this community is being subjected to,” Royal added.
Clarke’s 38-year career in policing has been defined in recent years by his disagreement with the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. He joins a chorus of Black conservatives who have denounced the movement, help create a hate-group narrative, and who even compare them to the Ku Klux Klan.
Clarke has created a persona that shows him as a cop working on the street level and “solving” the various crimes in Milwaukee, but his critics says that has been a fabrication.
“Even though he tries to play one on TV, he is not a street cop,” said Angela Walker, a Black Lives Matter member who is Black and ran against him in 2014. “He’s an administrator.”
The most striking development in his ideas about the group comes in response to Beyoncé’s latest video and single, “Formation,” which has been deemed “anti-police.”
Police unions around the country have vowed not to protect her if her tour comes into their city.
In a recent appearance on Fox News, Clarke said, “She’s got a good brand, she’d better be a little careful with it. I can’t believe that she would crawl in bed with the devil that I call Louis Farrakhan. If Lucifer had a son, it would be Louis Farrakhan.”
Clarke elaborated further, “Look, I don’t care who she hires as private security as long as public resources in the form of police officers aren’t used.”
Many of Clarke’s critics have pointed out the sheriff’s total disregard for the Black people in the city in which he serves. New York Daily News Social Justice writer Shaun King has come out and called the man an “Uncle Tom.” In an piece from late 2015, King writes:
“For this man to form his lips to deny the very existence of police brutality is embarrassing… As if his declaration that there is no police brutality wasn’t awful enough, Sheriff David Clarke then took it to a level that truly warrants me saying what I would rarely say about another Black man. This man is an Uncle Tom, a sellout. It is tragic, actually, to see him say what no white sheriff, or any person of reason for that matter, would dare say.”
Writer James E. Causey for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states:
“Those are strong words and of course Clarke is entitled to his opinion. But I don’t see him talking much or as boldly about the issues of crime and poverty that trap many of his constituents in Milwaukee. I’d like to hear some strong words about him doing his job.”
Clarke’s stance ignores recent reports by the Guardian as well. The Guardian‘s Counted project has documented police shootings of American citizens for the last few years, and in 2015, the project has estimated that police have shot nearly 1,140 people. This number is more than all developed nations combined.
In 2016, the Counted has recorded nearly 170 people killed by police officers. The Guardian also reported that “U.S. Blacks were killed by police at a rate roughly 2.5 times higher than whites.”
Regardless of facts and data presented, Clarke will continue to fight against the BLM movement.