A police officer in Houston was ambushed and killed last week, which is a horrible tragedy. To hear the right wing tell it, however, this is all the fault of President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement for leading an alleged “war on cops” that has turned the people against the police. And they’ve got their very own Uncle Tom, a black sheriff from Milwaukee, eager to make that argument for them so they can cover up their racism.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says the Obama administration is leading a “war” on U.S. law-enforcement officers.
The sheriff made his comments in the wake of the ambush and shooting death of a Houston officer who died while filling up his vehicle at a gas station.
“I said last December that war had been declared on the American police officer, led by some high profile people — one of them coming out of the White House, one of them coming out of the Department of Justice,” Sheriff Clarke told Fox News on Saturday.
“It’s open season right now, no doubt about it. … I’m tired of hearing people call [Black Lives Matter] black activists. They’re black slime, and it needs to be eradicated from American society and American culture. I need every law-abiding person in the United States of America to stand up and start pushing back against this slime, this filth disparaging the American law enforcement officers within these communities.”
This was published in the Worldnetdaily, of course. But if you dare to suggest that, for example, the right wing’s constant rhetoric of demonization of gay people, calling them demon-possessed pedophiles deliberately destroying the country — something the Worldnetdaily publishes constantly — has something to do with the high rate of violence against gay people, they would scream holy hell over it and declare you to be an anti-Christian bigot.
But there are differences between those two things. The demonization of gay people has no relationship to reality at all, but the criticism of American police departments and officers and their often racist policies and actions is well-supported by the facts. They call a movement that is finally calling for accountability and reform of our blatantly racist criminal justice system a “war on cops,” which would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous and corrosive.
“We need to hear more of that from everybody,” Sheriff Clarke told Fox News in response to Sheriff Hickman’s statement. “This whole movement — ‘Black Lies’ I’ve renamed it — because it’s based on a lie, the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ That’s why I said this slime need to be eradicated from American society and American culture.”
No, it is not based on that. Even if the Michael Brown story is complete fiction, even if he attacked that cop and deserved to be shot, that does nothing to change the undeniable reality that our criminal justice system is racist from top to bottom. It’s not about one man, it’s about a system where whites and blacks use, buy and sell drugs in nearly exact proportion to their percentage of the population but are arrested, convicted and imprisoned in almost exact reverse proportion. It’s about a system that targets black drivers and pedestrians at five, six, seven times the rate of whites on the grounds that they might have guns or drugs even though whites who are stopped and searched are more likely to be caught with such contraband.
It’s about a system that promises a right to counsel but makes that promise totally irrelevant in the real world by underfunding the public defender system and making it impossible for any poor person, white or black, to ever get a fair trial (or get a trial at all — 95% of all criminal cases now result in plea bargains). It’s about a system that gives prosecutors total immunity from liability or prosecution when they fabricate or withhold evidence to obtain a false conviction.
None of those facts are rationally deniable. Study after study supports them. The numbers do not lie.
Last week’s shooting in Houston pushed the number of officers killed by gunfire in 2015 to 23.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported in December that 15 officers were killed by shootings in 2014, CNN reported Monday. The organization said that number tripled the number of ambushes perpetrated on law enforcement personnel in 2013.
That’s all shootings of police officers for all reasons in all circumstances. Meanwhile, so far in 2015 police officers have shot 26 unarmed black men alone — just unarmed black men. And we have dozens of instances from this year alone of police officers committing all manner of abuse and misconduct and lying on their reports, and we know that they lied because we have video. You really want to compare numbers on this one, right wing? You’re going to lose.