Sheriff David Clarke: My biggest fear about the War on Police is being realized
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America in 2016, post-Black Lives Matter is less secure, less free, more divided, and lesser-than in every respect when it comes to our national ideals of freedom and justice for all. Not only has the recycled Occupy Wall Street movement created and exacerbated racial tensions in our communities, it has encouraged and set the groundwork for real violence aimed at police across our country.

In the past the country has witnessed Black Lives Matter-inspired violence aimed at police. Now, we have police so fearful of the media-enabled and Hollywood-sanctioned frenzy against law enforcement and the use of deadly force — totally devoid of any factual basis — that the police are now choosing possible death rather than defend themselves against dangerous criminals. Criminals, I might add, who threaten not only the police but also the vulnerable poor and minority communities the police seek to serve.

This past week in Chicago, a 17-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department had her head bashed into the pavement repeatedly by a man high on PCP. The attack rendered her unconscious and in need of hospitalization for her injuries. According to the Chicago Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson, this female officer was so fearful of media scrutiny and the effect it might have on her family that, even  own death, she withheld using deadly force to protect herself.

Coincidentally, last Friday the Chicago Police Department released the changes made to its “use of deadly force” policies in reaction to the Obama Department of Justice’s report on the department, using the term “sanctity of life” to refer to the “new” approach. The marketing department must have been firing on all cylinders when it appropriated that term from the pro-life movement for its empty-rhetoric press-release-oriented policy.

As a member of law enforcement, I take my responsibility toward the community we serve extremely seriously. The use of deadly force, a situation we try to avoid at all costs but that sometimes becomes necessary in order to protect the community and the lives of the men and women who serve under me, has always been treated with the utmost caution and gravity regardless of what propaganda cop haters spew.

That my officers feel the burden of a media culture’s fixation with indicting law enforcement on their front pages at the behest of a far-left movement designed to foment anarchy and not truth, infuriates me. Beyond making our ability to serve the communities more difficult, there’s a broader issue at stake.

For now, the media and the Black Lives Matter acolytes have set their sights on law enforcement. We are the protectors not only of the lives, property, and security of the communities we serve but of something much greater—the rule of law.

But tomorrow they may (if they haven’t already) set their sights on the rest of America. When a police officer is shamed in the pages of cop loathing newspapers for using deadly force, and placed into a baseless narrative of police violence, then who will be next? Will the everyday American also be shamed without cause in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post? They are gunning for the police now, but all too soon it will be the rest of us, any of us who stand for equality before the law, due process, and order over chaos.

Clarke is the Milwaukee County sheriff. Follow him @SheriffClarke

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