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Sheriff Clarke on Police Patrolling Muslim Communities for Radicals: 'Sure, And We Already Are'

Michael W. Chapman
By Michael W. Chapman | March 31, 2016 | 11:55 AM EDT

Milwaukee County Sheriff David

A. Clarke Jr.  (FBN screenshot)

Asked if he supported Senator Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) proposal for police patrolling of Muslim neighborhoods to monitor for Islamic radicalization, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said, "sure," and added that "we already are" doing such patrols and in New York City in particular, police are looking for "hot spots," for "evidence of radicalization."

On Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. on Wednesday, host Stuart Varney asked Sheriff Clarke, "Ted Cruz has said, after the Brussels attack, he’s in favor of patrolling Muslim neighborhoods in America. You’re a cop. You would do the patrolling, you’d organize the patrolling. Would you do it?”

Sheriff Clarke said, “Sure, and we already are. And in New York they’re doing it under the Handschu agreement, which allows the NYPD and their demographics units to go anywhere in these Muslim communities that the public is allowed to go.

“They do not do rolling surveillance, they do not do rogue spying," said Clarke.  "But they’re looking for evidence of hot spots. They’re looking for evidence of radicalization, those sorts of things."

He continued, “Look, we have an obligation to protect those communities as well."

Varney then said, “I didn’t know they were doing this already. Active patrols?”

Sheriff Clarke continued, "Sure, the Handschu agreement in New York. It’s a court-ordered monitoring. There was a complaint made about some of the NYPD tactics to surveil Muslim communities. So they came up with this court-ordered agreement – it’s called the Handschu agreement, I don’t know where the name comes from – but it allows NYPD to conduct certain activities where we balance the protection of civil liberties and we help defend this country, this city, this nation, our communities, my community back home – not through [the N.Y.] Handschu agreement -- but helps us defend against plots against radicalization efforts."

"Had they done a better job in San Bernardino, they may have been able to uncover [the terror plot] because the neighbors knew something was up," said Clarke. 

“They knew something didn’t smell right but they didn’t know who to go to, they were afraid to say anything," said the sheriff. "So, we have to get over this notion that these are no-go zones. That’s not fair to the Muslim communities, all right?  Many of these individuals do not stand for this [radical Islam] and they want to help as well."

"Well, then, we have to be in those communities, use Muslim officers that understand the language," he said. "You’ve got Pashto, you got Arabic, you got Farsi, they understand the religion, and they understand the customs and traditions in those neighborhoods.”

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.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

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