Things got tense between Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and CNN host Don Lemon as they were discussing – rather heatedly – Black Lives Matter in the wake of the Baton Rouge shooting that left three police officers dead.
Lemon started off the discussion with this question:
“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?”
I think the Sheriff may have misunderstood Lemon’s question. Lemon mentioned talking to the police and saying that their message was one of peace. Clarke must have thought that Lemon was talking about Black Lives Matter. So here’s how their exchange went:
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.
Watch their whole tense exchange here:
It’s clear that Sheriff Clarke was on edge, as probably most officers are now across the country.
Lemon was trying to appear objective in only going where the evidence led him, suggesting that these police assassinations didn’t really have anything to do with the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM is a decentralized group – or at least that’s what we’re led to believe – so it’s not like they ordered the murders of all these officers.
But it’s hard not to see a connection between the rhetoric of many of their members and the actions that others have taken – others who claim not to be a part of BLM but whose rhetoric and goals are the same.
How quick were the media to make connections between the “racist” GOP and Dylann Roof – the man who murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina last year?
And how quick were they to make connections between the Tea Party and Jared Loughner – the man who murdered six people (including a conservative federal judge), and injured Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. In fact, they blamed that one squarely on Sarah Palin.
But a group of people calling out things like “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon?” And sending out countless tweets about how the slain cops got what they deserved? Nah, there’s no connection there. Let’s not jump to conclusions.
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