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Sheriff Clarke: Black Lives Matter Is Dangerous

Sheriff Clarke: Black Lives Matter Is Dangerous

Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. speaks out about the targeting of cops and the dangerous, hateful and destructive ideology of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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    Where to begin with Clarke’s characterizations and rhetoric. While he is certainly a media star within the LE community and conservative circles, his thoughts and observations are clearly out of the mainstream.

    1. Contrary to Clarke’s assertion, the use of deadly force is actually commonplace. Our country has accurate stats on just about every topic except for the number of citizens killed by police. Publications like the Washington Post and the Guardian probably have the most accurate stats in this domain. Our police kill in excess of 1000 citizens yearly. In Jan 2017, police have already killed over 121 citizens according to the Washington Post. Compare this to any of our brethren in Europe, the number is obscene. I realize there are differences between our country and Europe, but even after you normalize for gun violence, the answer is clear. American police are more violent and more likely to use deadly force no matter what the situation. Why? Because the SCOTUS has created a legal framework where it devalues the life of the citizen. We have created conditions where fear, no matter how irrational, is justification to take the life of a citizens. Additionally, the oversight mechanisms are so tilted toward the officer, firing a poor officer, obtaining an indictment or even a conviction is practically impossible. The behavior of the prosecutors in the Tamir Rice case are pretty typical of how the system protects officers instead of the citizen. I would recommend everyone read the GQ article on this subject.

    2. The media is not responsible for the current distrust between communities and police; police are. Exposure is a powerful antiseptic. Every citizen has a cell phone and social media can expose questionable interactions more quickly than the media mainstream. Citizens are becoming more educated about the problems with broken windows policing, zero tolerance, arrest “goals”, civil asset forfeiture, militarization and wild-west surveillance. These issues have clearly illustrated how far policing has deviated from keeping the community safe to becoming predatory force within all communities. People can now see citizens being arrested for “contempt of cop” and other frivolous charges. People now see video of citizens being killed by police for things like throwing rocks, or holding water hoses. They can see officer discrepancies between official police reports and video. They can see children being injured or killed by SWAT deployments. Why should any law-abiding citizen fear interacting with police. They shouldn’t! But this is the environment that has been created today. It wasn’t created by the media…but actions of the police.

    3. Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner may not be heroes but the are certainly victims of the type of policing that occurs in this country, particularly toward minorities. All three on these citizens lost their lives at the hands of the police. Freddie Gray mysteriously obtains a severed spine while being transported to jail. While not proven, anyone with any familiarity with the
    Baltimore City PD, knows with high degree of certainty, that he received a “rough ride” and was given some “blue justice”. Sandra Bland committed suicide after she was arrested for nothing more than talking the wrong way to the arresting officer. And Eric Gardner was choked to death and left to die on the street. Each one of these cases clearly displayed the disdain that police (no matter the race of the officer) regularly displays toward citizens and particularly African Americans. It wasn’t just the African American community that was offended by these deaths, but all of America. Americans know that these deaths didn’t need to happen and they saw first hand how police treat citizens and no citizens hould be treated this way.

    4. The stats prove that Clarke’s assertions about policing are false. Clarke asserts that white people are more likely to be killed by police. In raw numbers, he is correct. However, when to apply those same numbers to the percentage
    of the population, it’s clear that police are more likely to use deadly force against a minority. Let’s not stop there. Every meaningful statistics and regarding police interaction with minorities clear show bias in arrests, number of stops, and use of force. Every meaningful study on the subject of bias in policing reinforce this fact. Every police degree, before and during the Obama administration showed unconstitutional police practice in those departments. How do these conditions get created? Emphasis on arrest instead of crime reduction, dehumanization of the citizens officers police, incentivizing officers via promotion and better assignments to bend the law in order to make their targets. Ferguson is the poster child for this type of bad policing. Police were pressured and incentivized to generate as much revenue as possible for the community, resulting with 75% of the population having arrest warrants.

    5. Black Live Matter is not a hate group and never has been. Clarke and many in the LE community are using the same tactics that were used against those fighting for equal rights during the civil rights era. BLM has shown remarkable stamina in keeping police violence in the mainstream media and working to force communities to change they way policing is conducted. The anti-police violence campaign benefits all Americans, not just minorities. While those in opposition to BLM like to point out the actions of a few protestors to denigrate the entire
    movement. BLM recommended changes that limit police interactions, improve community policing, limit use of force, improve accountability and oversight and finally reduce influence of police unions and renegotiate union contracts. All of these items, can move us closer to a true partnership between the community and police.

    6. Leaders like Clarke does the LE profession a disservice by failing to recognize the problems within. In fact, Clarke is more interested in hss own media star, rather than effective policing. Instead of acknowledging that problems exist, he claims that any organization that seeks reform is anti-police, a hate group or anarchists. Fortunately, his radicalism isn’t mainstream (I hope they’re not). Organizations like the Police Executive Research Forum, Blacks in Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition understand the problems that exist between law enforcement and the community. Clarke says that Law enforcement doesn’t need reform, the community needs reform. I disagree wholeheartedly. We need to reduce police violence by importing de-escalation techniques from England. We need to consolidate the 18,000 law organization operating throughout the country to ensure consistency in training, standards and accountability. We need to eliminate the predatory police practices that caused communities like Ferguson, Baltimore and New York to protest and in some cases, sadly riot.

    BLM and other like minded organizations, including myself, want one thing. A professional police force that can be trusted, respects it citizens, uses force and deadly force only as a last resort. We want constitutionally based policing that’s free from racial bias. We want a police force that’s held accountable for it’s failings and one that is rewarded for removing poor and marginal performers from it’s ranks. We want the “blue wall of silence” knocked down. Any officer that reports misconduct should be free from retribution.

    Now this post has been critical in response to Clarke’s nonsense. I believe that most departments operate in moral and ethical ways. However, many don’t and they are dragging the rest of the profession down with them.

    http://www.gq.com/story/tamir-rice-story
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/us/heres-how-racial-bias-plays-out-in-policing.html?_r=0
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/

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