For example, Clarke grossly misled Senators during an exchange with Sen. Tom Cotton regarding Jacob Blake, who was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Shortly after the shooting, Clarke stated on social media that Blake was unarmed. It is undisputed, however, that Blake had a knife.
When Clarke conceded to Cotton that Blake was armed, the Senator expressed concern that in this and other instances, the nominee jumped, without evidence, to the conclusion that the police acted improperly. It’s one thing, Cotton said, for a citizen in an advocacy role to do so. But police officers throughout America should be terrified of someone with the power of the federal government behind her doing this whenever officers have to use force to protect themselves and the public.
Clarke responded that she recognizes the distinction between serving an advocacy group and serving the Justice Department. Then, she cited her record as a “prosecutor” during the George W. Bush administration in support of her claim to be even handed. “I’ve done this job before,” Clarke said.
But during the Bush administration, Clarke was a low-level line attorney in the Civil Rights Division. She came to the DOJ after graduating from law school in 2000 and left in 2006.
Clarke didn’t have authority over charging decisions regarding police officers. In fact, it appears that she had no responsibilities at all in the area of policing. She worked, instead, on voting rights, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases.
Accordingly, police officers can take no comfort from Clarke’s time at the DOJ. This is a nominee whose presumptions always run against the police. As Cotton pointed out, she is still unwilling to agree with the conclusion of the Eric Holder and Vanita Gupta, that officer Darren Wilson was justified in his use of force against Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Nor can police officers take comfort from Clarke’s support for increasing funding for the federal COPS program. After Sen. Ted Cruz exposed Clarke for lying about her position in 2020 on defunding the police, she said she now supports increasing police funding. Clarke cited her agreement with Joe Biden that the federal COPS program should receive significantly more money.
This sounds like a pro-police position. In reality, though, increased funding for COPS is the hook through which the Biden administration hopes to take control of local police departments.
The COPS program (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services) began under Bill Clinton, who wanted to bring the Democrats to the correct, and politically popular, side of law and order issues. Under the program, the federal government provided technical assistance to state and local police departments.
In the summer of 2004 (I think), one of my daughters had a summer job with COPS. It was a fine program.
However, the Obama Justice Department used the COPS program to coerce local police departments into adopting left-wing agenda items. Monetary grants were conditioned on complying with the dictates of an administration that was trying to transform American policing.
Jeff Sessions put an end to this during the Trump administration. But in the age of BLM, the police finds itself in the cross hairs of leftists like Kristen Clarke to a degree almost unimaginable even during the Obama presidency. Thus, there is no doubt that the Biden administration will place the COPS program back in the service of the hard left, and with a vengeance.
No wonder Biden and Clarke want to increase its funding. The more money the program has, the greater its ability to coerce police departments into ceding control to the leftists who run the DOJ.
Tom Cotton is right. Rank-and-file police officers throughout America should be terrified of Kristen Clarke. And law-abiding Americans should be very afraid of the accelerated exodus of police officers the Biden Justice Department is likely to produce.