Sheriff Clarke on Chicago Protesters:‘This Is a Totalitarian Movement…to Shut Down Free Speech’

By Brian Lonergan | March 17, 2016 | 3:57pm EDT

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A.

Clarke, Jr. (AP)

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke strongly condemned the actions of protesters at a recent Donald Trump campaign rally that resulted in violent confrontations with attendees.

“This is a totalitarian movement,” he said. “It's very stealth. I know who these people are. I’ve seen it. This is a conglomeration of misfits.”

“You have cop haters,” he said. “You have anarchists. You have criminals. You have some rowdy juveniles. You have organized labor. And there is a spattering of well-intentioned people who are being exploited in this, and they’re the ones pushed out front, and those are the ones pushed out in front of the camera as they do their dirty work.”

Clarke made his comments in a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. He was referring to an incident on March 12 when a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the University of Illinois at Chicago was cancelled after clashes between protesters and supporters prior to the event.

The day after the cancellation of the rally, a protester tried to storm the stage at a Trump event in Dayton, Ohio. The man was quickly apprehended as Secret Service agents surrounded the candidate.

“This is an attempt to shut down free speech,” Sheriff Clarke continued. “These presidential activities are part of our democratic process. The people who showed up in Chicago had every right under the Constitution to participate in this process and they were denied.”

Clarke also lamented political correctness and the current perception of police as criminals by some people.

“The cops are the bad guys, the crooks are the victims now,” he said. “Everything that’s said when one wants to express themselves has to be put through an approval meter.”

David A. Clarke Jr., a Democrat, was elected to a 4-year term as the sheriff of Milwaukee County in 2002, and was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014. In those elections he won, respectively, with 74%, 78%, 74%, and 79% of the vote.

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