Since the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has been critical of any protest against police abuse. Sheriff Clark has been a regular guest on the Fox News channel as he dismisses the peaceful protests of the Black Lives Matter movement as being criminal and its members terrorists. His statements seem to bring to life the hateful words of the “Boondocks” cartoon character Uncle Ruckus when it comes to Black people. On the hit Adult Swim show, there is an episode where Uncle Ruckus is shot at 118 times and beaten by the police. However, Ruckus settles his case by being made a part of the force. When he is made an officer, he promises to “beat every black person he sees with extreme prejudice.” Although Sheriff Clarke has not physically beaten any Black person with extreme prejudice, his words have hurt the Black community with extreme prejudice.
Early Monday, he appeared on CNN for an interview with host Don Lemon, where he once again repeated his assertions in a bitter tirade. Lemon started off the interview by stating police in Louisiana wanted to preach peace and togetherness after the shootings. Clarke looked at Lemon incredulously and stated that he didn’t believe that and that Black Lives Matter are fueling hate against law enforcement. Lemon tried to remain professional and objected to Clarke painting the BLM activists as being part of a hateful ideology. Clarke responded by saying, “I’m looking at three dead cops this week and I am looking at five last week. You’re trying to tell me to keep it down?” Instead of answering any of the CNN host’s questions, he became combative and instead began to attack Lemon with questions unrelated to the matter at hand. Lemon was forced to go to break as he asked, “Are you going to answer any questions?” and ended the interview.
Last night, Clarke addressed the crowd at the Republican National Convention and got a standing ovation when he started off by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear, blue lives matter in America.” Clarke celebrated the acquittal of Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice in his role in the death of Freddie Gray. He went on to attack the character of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, calling her an activist who engaged in malicious actions. But Clarke was not finished; as the crowd became excited he said, “What we witnessed in Baltimore and Ferguson and Baton Rouge was a collapse of the social order… So many of the actions of the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter transcend peaceful protest and violates the code of conduct we rely on. I call it anarchy.”
Clarke has stated repeatedly that the death of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and other Blacks in the news since 2014 have not been the fault of the police but rather the victim. Clarke is the type of Black cop a Black person should fear; it seems he is willing to excuse and allow police to be judge, jury and executioner of anyone Black he deems has transgressed in the eyes of law enforcement. His statements indicate that for him it is unfathomable that a police officer can do any wrong. He states that peaceful Black protestors are terrorists and not above the law and yet in his world it is police officers who are in fact above the law. Black men like Clarke have been used as puppets for right-wing Republican ideologues since the death of Mike Brown and it represents the continued devaluation of Black life by other Blacks. Clarke’s views and statements are just as vile and damaging to the Black struggle as the careless bullets that cut down Black victims in cities such as Chicago. It is indeed frightening that Clarke is not only aware of the impact of his words but also seems to take delight in calling for the further oppression of Black protestors and the Black community.