Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) declared the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners,” offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob” on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.Goodness! This is a Democratic sheriff speaking! And an African-American one at that! Attention must be paid!
Well, no, not really. David Clarke is a garden-variety wingnut with a self-promoting streak that might remind you of another blowhard sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Don't jump to any conclusions about Clarke just because of the color of his skin or his party affiliation.
Actually, there's not much reason to believe that Clarke (shown above speaking to the NRA convention last year) is a Democrat at all -- he frequently appears at Republican fund-raisers. He runs as a Democrat because Milwaukee County is heavily Democratic.
Clarke gained national attention in 2013 for an inflammatory public service announcement:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is airing a new public service announcement telling residents that because of budget cuts, calling 911 for help is no longer their best option....Clarke is basically your lifetime-NRA-member uncle with darker skin and a cop's uniform. Just last month, he said that there should be a semi-automatic rifle on the Great Seal of the United States:
With officers laid off and furloughed, Clarke says, calling 911 and waiting for police is no longer your best bet. "You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you could fight back. But are you prepared?" he asks. "Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family."
“You know, the one with the American bald eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other,” he said. “We should take those arrows out of the eagle’s claws and replace them with a semi-automatic rifle, preferably one that shoots M-855 ammunition.”In 2013, Clarke was named Sheriff of the Year by a group called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. Here's some background on the CSPOA:
The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) was founded in 2011 by Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff. Mack was also a lobbyist for Gun Owners of America (GOA), and he is known for his challenge to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and his role in the organization Oath Keepers....
That's a photo of Mack above. Here's more on Mack and CSPOA, from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
He’s a hard-right libertarian who believes the federal government has no authority to require drivers to wear seat belts and who once demanded the government give him back the $4,800 he paid in income taxes. He’s a self-styled “constitutional conservative” with little or no formal legal training who believes that states can ignore federal laws they don’t like, despite clear language in the U.S. Constitution that says otherwise....This guy's group admires David Clarke. Have I made it clear by now that Clarke is not a standard-issue Democrat?
Whether he’s speaking to local chapters of the JBS [John Birch Society] or appearing on far-right radio shows like James Edwards’ white nationalist program “The Political Cesspool,” Mack’s central message is that the federal government has far overstepped its constitutional bounds and that county sheriffs have the rightful authority -- and duty -- to protect citizens from what he believes are its unlawful incursions....
While Mack shakes his fist at the federal government and wants to devolve virtually all power to state and local governments, he says he does not favor violence. But his rhetoric is certainly confrontational and seems to fuel the passions of extremists as well as audiences closer to the mainstream. He once said he prayed for the day when a sheriff would be the “first one to fire the next shot around the world and arrest a couple of IRS agents.”
Clarke is considering a run for mayor in 2016. Residents of Milwaukee, if you let him slide into the mayor's office the way you let him win reelection every four years, you're getting the government you deserve. Wake up.