Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke clashed with CNN host Don Lemon over the “hateful ideology” of the Black Lives Matter movement, emphasizing that black-on-black crime is a far more serious threat to black males than cops.
“I spoke to the heads of the sheriff department, the police department, and the state police down there and they told us how their hearts were reeling. Their message is peace and how they’re coming together in the country. What’s your message?” Lemon asked.
Clarke snorted. “You don’t believe that for one minute, do you?”
“That their message is?” Lemon said, confused. “Uh, that’s what they said to me.”
“Yeah, I believe them. I was over there –”
“Any protests over the deaths of these cops today in Baton Rogue?” Clarke interrupted.
“I don’t know that. I don’t know that,” Lemon said.
“Any riots or protests over the police officers in Dallas, Texas?”
“What are you asking?” Lemon said.
“It’s a pretty simple question,” Clarke said.
“I asked you if what your message to the people — their message is one of peace. What is your message?”
“My message has been clear from day one, two years ago. This anti-cop sentiment from this hateful ideology called Black Lives Matter has fueled this rage against the American police officer. I predicted this two years ago. So what I want to know –”
“With all due respect, Sheriff, do you know that this was because of that? As a law enforcement officer?” Lemon asked, referring to the Black Lives Matter movement inspiring cop executions.
“Yes. I do. I’ve been watching this for two years. I predicted this. This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that are now playing themselves out on the American police officer,” Clarke said. “I want to know, with all of the black-on-black violence going on in the United States of America — by the way, when the tragedies happen in Louisiana and Minnesota, did you know that 21 black people were murdered across the United States? Was there any reporting on it? Was there any reporting on it?”
“Sheriff, please, let’s just keep the volume down. So, I understand –” Lemon began.
“I’m looking at three dead cops this week and I’m looking at five last week, and you’re trying to tell me to keep it down?” Clarke asked.
Lemon tried to get Clarke to preach a “message of civility” to the audience but Clarke pushed back: “Don, I wish you had that message of civility toward this hateful ideology, these purveyors of hate. That’s what they do.”
Lemon cut to a commercial break. “Are you going to let me talk?” he said.
Later in the interview, Clarke said the “whole phony movement” of Black Lives Matter started with the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie circulated after the Ferguson, Missouri riots. Lemon denied he was a “member” of Black Lives Matter: “I’m neither a member of Black Lives Matter, I’m neither a supporter, or someone who does not support them. I simply report on Black Lives Matter.”
“Do you condemn the anti-police rhetoric coming from this hateful ideology?” Clarke asked him.
“As a journalist sitting here on television, I don’t have to condemn anyone, anything. That is something I ask other people around the country –”
“Well, I do,” Clarke said.
Just like I condemn the hateful ideology of groups like the KKK. All right? I condemn it. There is no place in American discourse for that sort of vile, vitriolic hate coming out of this ideology. This has fueled and fanned the flames towards the American police officers. There’s only one group in America, one, Don, that truly cares about the lives of black people in these urban ghettos. And it’s the American police officer who goes out there on a daily basis, put their life on the line to protect — who? Black people. So when you say we just want to have a conversation, let’s have a conversation on the black-on-black crime, which kills more black males, which is more of a threat to any black male in the United States than a law enforcement officer.
Ninety-three percent of black homicide victims were killed by other blacks, according to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that tracked crime rates from 1980 to 2008, and black Americans committed 52.9 percent of all homicides and 59.9 percent of felony murders during that time.