On CNN, Sheriff Clarke Slams ‘Black Lies Matter’ Movement

Reacting to the murder of officer Darren Goforth, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told CNN’s Pamela Brown that the “anti-cop rhetoric” being peddled by Black Lives Matter has “fueled” these recent attacks on police across the country. 

Clarke argued that it was “very fair” to indite Black Lives Matter following the death of Officer Goforth especially “in light of the anti-cop rhetoric that is sweeping the United States of America, fueled by this group, some of the vulgar, vile rhetoric coming out talking about killing cops. And that’s some of the nice stuff.”  

Clarke appeared on Erin Burnett OutFront with CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill and made sure to clarify that not all police deaths were the fault of Black Lives Matter but stressed that respect for police across the country has vanished: 

There’s no fear anymore about assaulting or attacking, fighting, disarming or generally -- like I said assaulting law enforcement officers. You know what? If the shoe fits, wear it. Just like the Dylann Roof, right, went into a church and slaughtered nine church-goers. And every white person in America by this black lies movement, L-I-E-S, was indicted because of that. And other people came out and talked about slavery, discrimination alive and well in the United States. That’s why I said, if the shoe fits here, wear it.

Despite Clarke pointing out the numerous instances of Black Lives Matter using violent anti-police rhetoric at the marches, Lamont Hill accused the sheriff of distorting the group’s message: 

The argument of Black Lives Matter is that police officers should be held to standards of accountability just like everybody else. The increased number of black bodies, the sustain of black bodies, which die at the hands of state violence needs to end. And it means while we regard all lives, we cannot exclude black lives.

For his part, Clarke rejected the BLM movement’s messages and argued that their grievances against law enforcement were not “legitimate” given that most instances of police force are ruled justifiable: 

It’s not a matter of whether they have a right. It’s a matter of whether it’s legitimate. There are 104 homicides in the city of Milwaukee right now. I think there were 79 last year. Baltimore, 214. They have already matched all of 2014. So, when you want to take that 24 -- I’m not saying that none of that was is legitimate in terms of taking a look at them. 

But how many of them were ruled justifiable? How many of the uses of force were determined to be reasonable and justifiable? Let’s compare that 24 to the number of stops made by police officers during that time period. You will find that’s a very, very fractional percentage of deaths that occur at the hands of police officers. That’s what the data shows anyway.

See relevant transcript below. 

CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront

August 31, 2015

PAMELA BROWN: Sheriff Clarke, this is horrific what happened, obviously. Do you think it’s fair to link this murder to the Black Lives Matter movement when we still don’t know the suspect’s motive?

SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE: I think it’s very fair, in light of the anti-cop rhetoric that is sweeping the United States of America, fueled by this group, some of the vulgar, vile rhetoric coming out talking about killing cops. And that’s some of the nice stuff. Some of the stuff I can’t even say here on TV. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the two New York officers, Ramos and Liu, were gunned down by an individual who made Facebook postings about wanting to kill pigs.

He was going to go out and hunt officers down. There have been officers across the United States who've had their cruisers shot at and struck while they patrolled. St. Louis, the same thing. Yes, this is part of a pattern now. And you would have to stick your head in the sand to think this thing here wasn’t fuelled by this vile, vulgar, slimy movement.

BROWN: Marc?

MARC LAMONT HILL: I disagree with your characterization. I would be curious to ask you, do you think that every cop who has been killed this year is connected somehow -- the death is connected to BLM?

CLARKE: No. But there’s an increase in assaults on police officers, killings of police officers. It may not be directly related to this movement. But you know what? There’s no fear anymore about assaulting or attacking, fighting, disarming or generally -- like I said assaulting law enforcement officers. You know what? If the shoe fits, wear it. Just like the Dylann Roof, right, went into a church and slaughtered nine church-goers and every white person in America by this black lies movement, L-I-E-S, was indicted because of that. And other people came out and talked about slavery, discrimination alive and well in the United States. That’s why I said, if the shoe fits here, wear it.

--

HILL: Please, let me respond. Even if you think those people didn’t get what they deserved, as a police officer, I hope you wouldn’t say two wrongs make a wrong. If anything, we should be emphasizing due process and investigation here. And in this case, the people handling the case in Texas themselves have said, they clearly -- we don’t know the motive. You are saying that your colleagues in law enforcement who say we don’t know the motive are wrong and you know the motive. The second piece I want to say is that your characterization of Black Lives Matter is absolutely incorrect

 The argument of Black Lives Matter is not to say that police officers should be killed, that police officers should be demonized, that police officers should be marginalized. The argument of Black Lives Matter is that police officers should be held to standards of accountability just like everybody else. The increased number of black bodies, the sustain of black bodies, which die at the hands of state violence needs to end. And it means while we regard all lives, we cannot exclude black lives.

CLARKE: What about the black victims that die at the hands of other black people? That doesn’t seem to matter. They’re dying --

HILL: Didn’t matter to who?

CLARKE: Not by the few rare instances of the police use of force, Marc.

BROWN: Sheriff Clarke, looking at the numbers here, if we are going to bring that up, there were 24 unarmed African-Americans killed by police this year. So, when you take that into account, Sheriff Clarke, do you think that African-Americans, people part of this protest, have a right to have their voices heard and to protest?

CLARKE: It’s not a matter of whether they have a right. It’s a matter of whether it’s legitimate. There are 104 homicides in the city of Milwaukee right now. I think there were 79 last year. Baltimore, 214. They have already matched all of 2014. So, when you want to take that 24 -- I’m not saying that none of that was is legitimate in terms of taking a look at them. But how many of them were ruled justifiable? How many of the uses of force were determined to be reasonable and justifiable? Let’s compare that 24 to the number of stops made by police officers during that time period. You will find that’s a very, very fractional percentage of deaths that occur at the hands of police officers. That’s what the data shows anyway.

 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer was a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.