Critics of President-elect Donald Trump and supporters of Black Lives Matter are raising concerns following a meeting this week between Trump and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., considering Clarke to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Clarke, who is Black, has repeatedly vocalized his disdain for the Black Lives Matter movement and played down police violence against the Black community during television interviews as well as during his speech at the Republican National Convention in July.
During an interview on Fox & Friends last year, Clarke said, “There is no police brutality in America — we ended that in the ’60s.” He said there is no proof suggesting otherwise. “Show me the data, show me the research that demonstrates, that supports, that lie that law enforcement officers use an inordinate amount of force against Black people!” Clarke added. “Black people use an inordinate amount of force against themselves and each other in the American ghetto.”
This past year Clarke also blamed the civil unrest in Milwaukee on “tribal behavior” resulting from households led by single mothers.
Meanwhile, Clarke has raised further eyebrows with his suggestion to suspend the constitutional rights of American citizens suspected of terrorism by holding them in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely and allowing them to be questioned without an attorney present. Clarke also believes these cases should be held in a military tribunal rather than standard court.
Last year, Clarke went further to extend this idea to those suspected of being terrorist sympathizers as well. He advocated that anyone who posts pro-terrorist rhetoric on various forms of social media should be arrested, stripped of the right to habeas corpus (the right for a person under arrest to be brought before a judge) and sent to Guantanamo Bay as well. He cites Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, where the president can strip the right to habeas corpus during an invasion or rebellion to ensure the protection of the public. Clark suggests the number of potential sympathizers possibly detained could be over a million people.
“You take the known terrorists that are here, and you think we’re going to arrest all these people and put them in jails and then sentence them to prison It’s idiotic,” he has said. “[Take them to] Gitmo and hold them indefinitely under a suspension of habeas corpus. We’re at war. This is a time of war. Bold and aggressive action is needed.”
Clarke did not elaborate on the exact details on how this plan would be implemented, but said anyone who has “pledged allegiance or is supporting ISIS, giving aid or comfort” could potentially be detained.
Opponents of the potential appointment cite the stripping of basic constitutional rights of U.S. citizens as a slippery slope. Clarke’s extreme views on policing and national security have turned off many, and caused panic over the possibility of him being in charge of the nation’s homeland security.