5,000 signatures reached
To: Chief Michael Lefancheck, President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police
Sheriff Clarke's Racism and Hate Has No Place in New York State
It is unacceptable to promote former Sheriff David Clarke as a role model or expert for law enforcement to emulate or initiate policy or practice, the opposite is true. There's no place for his bigoted vitriol. We call on you to rescind the invitation immediately and denounce his hateful, dangerous positions against the people you are supposed to serve.
Why is this important?
We are disgusted and outraged to learn that David Clarke, the highly controversial former Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2017 will be the keynote speaker at your May 9th, 2018 at an event being hosted by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police at the Capital Center in Albany, NY.
According to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police website, Sheriff Clarke speech topics include, “the preparedness of law enforcement in political protests and riots, and the impact of criminal justice reform in an era that has seen the rise of domestic political extremism including from groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter.”
David Clarke completely ignores the reality that the perpetrators of violent extremism in the United States include white supremacists; anti-government groups; groups with extreme views on abortion and federal ownership of public lands. Most of the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States are committed by white, far-right violent extremists.
According to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), there were 85 violent extremist attacks in the fifteen years following 9/11. Sixty-two of these were by far right extremists. None were by Black Lives Matter because Black Lives Matter is not an extremist or violent organization. Clarke’s focus on Black Lives Matter is dangerously misplaced. It is part of a false narrative that people who protest against police killings of unarmed black people are a threat. New York’s Chiefs of Police should be meeting to discuss how to lessen hostility between police and communities of color. Instead, by inviting Clarke, NYSCOP is inflaming tensions between police and communities and encouraging more hostility by police forces.
Sheriff’s Clarke’s divisive and extreme racist rhetoric and actions are offensive and morally reprehensible. His extreme prejudiced views are not only unwelcome in New York, they pose a danger to New York residents by misinforming law enforcement of the real threats to our society.
Community groups and political leaders in New York are actively working to end mass incarceration by exposing the injustices and inequities in our criminal justice system. Sheriff Clarke on the other hand, talks about the “myth” of mass incarceration and he advocates for harsher sentencing for small amounts of drug sales. While he was Sheriff in Wisconsin he cut all programs like GED in his jails. New York’s law enforcement leaders should not be taking directives from Clarke’s reckless beliefs.