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Story highlights

Milwaukee County sheriff accuses Black Lives Matter of inspiring violence against police

Sheriff David Clarke raised his national profile with GOP convention speech

CNN —  

Unapologetic and blunt, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has won legions of supporters on the right with his frequent commentary that slams Black Lives Matter and other liberal groups.

As violence roiled Milwaukee in August, Clarke took to Twitter chiding the left and black activists, whom he derided as “Black Lies Matter.”

Clarke, who’s African-American, raised his national profile with a speech at the Republican National Convention in July and his vigorous defense of law enforcement. He’s not a registered Republican, but the sheriff is no fan of Democrats, often blaming them for creating “misery-inducing, divisive, exploitative and racist” urban policies.

His outspokenness on such issues has won him fans such as Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Political Action Conference as well as critics such as rapper Talib Kweli.

’A collapse of the social order’

Clarke hasn’t been shy either with his views on turmoil in Milwaukee after last summer’s police shooting of an armed black man named Sylville Smith. He called protests that turned violent “black cultural dysfunction.”

In an opinion piece the sheriff wrote for The Hill, he likened the chaos in Milwaukee as “tribal behavior.”

“What happened … had little to do with police use of force – it was a collapse of the social order where tribal behavior leads to reacting to circumstances instead of waiting for facts to emerge,” Clarke wrote.

“The law of the jungle replaced the rule of law in Milwaukee … over an armed career criminal suspect who confronted police.”

He described the urban, black poor as victims.

“The actions were the manifestation of a population with no hope, no stake in the American dream that could provide advancement and purpose and pride of self. They are the ones lied to, exploited by and ultimately manipulated by the Democrats who claim to care. They are victims of the left, but they are not without blame.”

’Anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country’

Since 2002, Clarke has been the sheriff of Milwaukee County. Now in his fourth term, he has won each election by a wide margin of victory. The suburbs, where he serves, is more heavily white than the city of Milwaukee, which has its own police force. He lost a bid to become Milwaukee mayor in 2004.

In a heated interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said he predicted the recent police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others.

05:00 - Source: CNN
Sheriff and Don Lemon get heated over police shootings

He told Lemon he had predicted that police officers would be targeted.

“This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that are now playing themselves out on the American police officer,” he said.

Clarke blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for inspiring violent crimes against law enforcement officers, calling the group “purveyors of hate.”

CNN’s Leinz Vales contributed to this report.