By Naomi LaChance
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who reportedly is joining the Department of Homeland Security, said in a 2009 post on his personal blog that concerns about racial profiling were “junk science.”
Clarke, who has compared Beyonce to the KKK and called Ferguson demonstrators “vultures on a roadside carcass,” has said he’s been nominated to lead the DHS Office of Partnership and Engagement, which coordinates with police departments across the country.
In 2009, the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Chris Ahmuty and Renee Crawford wrote a letter to Wisconsin legislators taking issue with language in a bill that could enable racial profiling.
Clarke’s blog post, titled “Junk Science: Racial Profiling and the ACLU,” shows his contempt for any criticism of police, as well as his resistance toward acknowledging systemic racism.
I am referring to the anti-cop crusade waged incessantly by the ACLU on this nebulous issue of hard “racial profiling.” Unable to come up with scientific evidence that would prove this claim, they rely on junk science that simply looks at raw numbers of the race of drivers in traffic stops, compare it to the population as a whole and conclude that this is proof positive that too many black motorists are being stopped.
The ACLU, a nonprofit organization that supports individual citizens’ rights on issues such as free speech, incarceration, and privacy, also fights systemic racial violence in the U.S. The group has taken an active role in challenging Donald Trump’s actions as president, pushing him on transparency, abortion rights, and immigration rights.
In his post, Clarke continues with his critique of the group:
The ACLU knows that nothing will ever eliminate the belief by some black motorists that they are routinely pulled over simply for being black, not for a traffic violation, and therefore this destructive campaign against law enforcement can be waged forever. For the police-agitating ACLU it is the gift that keeps on giving. This cop-agitating organization has no interest in ‘ending racial profiling.’ Most police agencies have done everything they have been asked to do by the anti-profiling advocates, but none of it has done anything to appease them. Agencies have conducted sensitivity training and initiated written policies prohibiting this obnoxious behavior, all at a cost to them, and it still hasn’t been enough.
The reality is that cases where routine traffic stops became deadly, like Sandra Bland or Philando Castile, illustrate how African-Americans are disproportionately vulnerable to police brutality — even at traffic stops. Bland was found hanging in her Texas jail cell three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Castile was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota during a traffic stop.
These ideas fit with the picture of David Clarke that we have now, elevated and publicized by Trump’s presidency. In 2015, he blamed Sandra Bland for her death, saying that if she were his daughter he would be embarrassed.
Last year, Clarke told CNN’s Don Lemon that it was “nonsense” to say “that law enforcement officers treat black males different than white males in policing in these urban areas.”
Clarke has also been a major proponent of the “Blue Lives Matter” movement, which seeks to make law enforcement officials a protected group under hate-crime legislation. Such a measure has been introduced in the Wisconsin legislature.
In the 2009 blog post, he portrays the ACLU as a group that exists solely for the purpose of antagonizing law enforcement officers. Rather, the group seeks to preserve the rights of the vulnerable in order to make sure that the law is enforced fairly.
Clarke’s record as sheriff has raised troubling implications for his role at DHS. Several lawsuits and reports indicate widespread abuse at the Milwaukee County Jail. In April 2016, one mentally ill inmate, Terrill Thomas, died after being denied water for seven days. This month, a grand jury recommended criminal charges against seven officials, but not Clarke himself.
TYT Politics contacted the ACLU about Clarke’s blog post, but the group had no comment.