Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke says he’s been called worse than a “sellout” and an “Uncle Tom,” two racially-charged terms that a New York Daily News columnist and Black Lives Matter activist used to describe the black Democrat on Tuesday.
“That crap doesn’t bother me,” Clarke told The Daily Caller in response to columnist Shaun King’s diatribe taking him to task for denying the existence of policy brutality and police racism during a Fox News segment on Monday.
“It’s designed to get me off message,” Clarke said during a phone interview.
King, who the Daily News recently hired to cover racial justice issues, was angry with Clarke, an outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, for saying “there is no police brutality in America” and that “there is no racism in the hearts of police officers.”
“As if his declaration that there is no police brutality wasn’t awful enough, Sheriff David Clarke then took it to a level that truly warrants me saying what I would rarely say about another Black man,” King wrote. “This man is an Uncle Tom, a sellout. It is tragic, actually, to see him say what no white sheriff, or any person of reason for that matter, would dare say.”
It is not uncommon for black conservatives to be accused of being overly subservient to whites — of being so-called “Uncle Toms.” Black conservatives like Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are routinely smeared, but usually by liberals on the political margins. It is rare, in the present day, to see the pejorative printed by a mainstream publication.
In addition to crossing that line, King also called for Clarke to be fired, though the sheriff holds an elected position.
King is no stranger to controversy. TheDC reported in July that details of a story he has repeatedly told of being attacked by racist white classmates while a high school student in Kentucky in 1995 was not backed up by witness statements, a police report from the incident, and the detective who investigated it. (RELATED: Leading Ferguson Activist’s Hate Crime Claim Disputed By Police Report, Detective)
A former pastor and former blogger at the left-wing website Daily Kos, King has been heavily criticized for providing false information about various police-involved incidents. He began focusing on social justice and policing issues in the aftermath of the Aug. 9, 2014 police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
He was one of the main activists who used social media to push the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative that prevailed during that case. But the claim that Brown was surrendering with his hands in the air before being shot by officer Darren Wilson was disputed by numerous witnesses.
“Consider the source,” Clarke said of King on Tuesday. He also provided more explanation for his choice of words during the Fox interview.
“Do you know what the definition of ‘brutality’ is?” Clarke asked, answering his own question. “Savage, physical violence.”
“That definition might apply to ISIS, but it does not apply to the institution of American policing. I find that to be insulting,” he said.
Clarke acknowledged that there are some incidents of police excessive use of force, but “they’re anomalies.”
He cited the case of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man who was fatally shot multiple times in the back by North Charleston, S.C. police officer Michael Slager in April, as one such example.
“That was horrible. I was shocked by what I saw,” Clarke said of the shooting, which was captured on video.
But Clarke’s focus now is on defending the integrity of cops, which he says is under assault by “cop-hating anarchists.”
“They redefine words. They’ve taken ‘police brutality’ as a substitute for the police use of force,” he said, adding that “I’ve had it with this continuous drum-beat by these cop-hating anarchists and their use of inflammatory rhetoric and hyperbole about the character and integrity of the American police officer.”