Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has become a regular on American television screens since the violence in Ferguson last August led to a series of racial incidents and rioting throughout the country, blasting the political correctness that’s he says has poisoned American policing.
But in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday, he took his conservative criticisms a step further than usual, attacking the methods and motives of Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore state’s attorney who brought charges against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died in police custody in April.
In the face of respectful, but clearly disagreeing questions from Lemon, Clarke faulted Mosby’s handling of the case as clearly “political,” and accused her of having an approach that was far more political than prosecutorial.
“I have a lot of experience investigating homicides … so I kind of know how these things operate,” Clarke said. “I was astonished at the speed this thing came out.”
He particularly cited Mosby’s invocation of the protesters’ phrase “no justice, no peace” in announcing the charges against the officers, and how she stated heard “heard the voices” of the rioters who’d just ransacked her city.
To Clarke, those statements were more befitting of a mayor or a street radical than a prosecuting attorney.
“She’s not supposed be using the jargon used by the social justice movement,” he said. “The prosecutor’s supposed to be neutral. … Totally inappropriate for a prosecutor.
“The last time we saw this was in the Duke lacrosse case, and we see what happened there.”
Lemon’s sympathy’s, however, were clearly with the prosecutor.
“She believes there’s enough evidence to support the charges,” he said. “If these were regular citizens and not police officers, isn’t that the way you’re supposed to proceed here?”
Clarke corrected Lemon.
“I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to bring charges, but now she’s got to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
“You have to move deliberately, you have to take your time,” he said. “As a prosecutor, you don’t get a do-over.”
A prosecutor would only need a do-over if the first attempt failed. Clarke is clearly expecting that in this case.
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