One of New York City’s largest police unions has selected outspoken Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to be its 2016 Person of the Year.
The avid Trump supporter and Black Lives Matter basher is slated to speak at the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association convention early next week.
The union’s controversial move to select Clarke is a stark contrast to last year’s honor recipient, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It’s also unusual that the PBA would chose a recipient with no ties to the city’s law enforcement or political scene.
“Sheriff Clarke is a passionate and vocal defender of police officers, at a time when our job is more difficult and dangerous than ever before,” said PBA president Patrick Lynch. “That is exactly what the PBA does for New York City police officers, so it has been encouraging to hear Sheriff Clarke make the same case on a national stage.”
“We should be hearing that type of support from elected leaders in both parties and at all levels of government, and are honored to have Sheriff Clarke as our Person of the Year,” he added.
Retired NYPD detective Marquez Claxton has a vastly different view of the conservative, cowboy hat-toting sheriff. For him, the PBA’s decision to honor Clarke is nothing short of “surprising and disturbing.”
“This is a guy who is beyond polarizing, who has zero empathy at even understanding about police community relations, who has even less respect for communities of color,” Claxton told the New York Daily News. “He really is often times nothing less than a hate-monger.”
Clarke, a pundit who often appears on political news shows, has been a critic of what he calls “left leaning” politicians who contribute to a state of lawlessness and condone disrespect toward police. Time and time again, he has outwardly blasted the Black Lives Matter movement, deeming it a racist organization overrun with “subhuman creeps” who use violent and “vicious rhetoric.” Clarke has even attacked public officials like former Attorney General Eric Holder, whom he called an a—hole.
According to the Washington Times, the outspoken sheriff penned an op-ed for The Hill amid violence sparked by the police shooting of a Black man in Milwaukee last week. In it, he pointed the finger at Democratic leadership for letting pressing issues in the city fester.
“The failed progressive urban policy causes anger and resentment in people that simmers below the surface,” Clarke wrote. “The officer-involved shooting was simply a catalyst that ignited the already volatile mixture of inescapable poverty, failing K-12 public schools, dysfunctional lifestyle choices like father absent homes, gang involvement, drug/alcohol abuse and massive unemployment.”
Clarke has served as Milwaukee County Sheriff for the last 14 years and said he’s honored to have received the designation from the PBA.
“I accept this award on behalf of every law enforcement officer who serves and protects their community with integrity, honor, courage and commitment throughout the United States,” he said.