The Milwaukee riots are an indictment of the "misery-inducing, divisive, exploitative" and racially manipulative polices of Democrats and the American Left, according to outspoken Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
Clarke has become a frequent presence on cable TV news and talking head shows over the past year, as tensions simmer between law enforcement and black communities nationwide. Although he's a registered Democrat, Clarke -- who is black -- has become one of the loudest critics of his own party and its support of the Black Lives Matter group.
In the wake of the most recent shooting, in which a black Milwaukee city police officer killed an armed suspect, protests on August 13 and 14 turned into riots, with crowds destroying several businesses, firing guns, attacking police officers and taking aim at passersby. The violence has gripped the nation as scenes of the chaos replay on news networks and dominate headlines.
In an editorial for The Hill, Clarke blasted "kowtowing city officials... [who] take this opportunity to abandon their citizens and preen before the Black Lives Matter-enabling media."
Many of the protesters and community leaders quoted in media reports have acknowledged that, while the shooting of the 23-year-old ignited the violence, the city was already a powder keg with its poorest people feeling stuck without opportunities for employment, education or ways to better themselves.
Clarke said he agrees with those assessments, saying the shooting "was simply a catalyst that ignited the already volatile mixture of inescapable poverty, failing K-12 public schools, dysfunctional lifestyle choices like father absent homes, gang involvement, drug/alcohol abuse and massive unemployment."
Where he differs from some others is in identifying the root causes of those problems.
"Here are the facts: Milwaukee is run by progressive Democrats," Clarke wrote. "Their decades-long Democrat regime has done nothing to reduce these urban pathologies, in fact, their strategies have exacerbated the situation by expanding the welfare state."
On August 15, Milwaukee city officials imposed a 10 p.m. curfew, a move they hope will help prevent a third night of violence and property destruction.
"There is a curfew that will be more strictly enforced tonight for teenagers," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said, according to Reuters. "So parents, after 10 o'clock your teenagers better be home or in a place where they're off the streets."
Despite the riots, Clarke said he doesn't blame protesters. He wrote:
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. It’s time for them to remember their own humanity, their own dignity, and to fight for that return to the American Dream that the left would withhold from them.