The largest union representing New York City police officers has awarded its Man of the Year honor to an outspoken black conservative and supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, known for his criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as President Obama, was named Man of the Year by the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
Annual honors have often gone to elected leaders or lawmen with New York ties — such as the 2015 award to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the 2009 award to former New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton, as he served as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
But association President Patrick Lynch said Sheriff Clarke’s unflinching support of law enforcement during a time when many are critical of or second-guessing the work of police officers made him a prime choice for the honor.
“Sheriff Clarke is a passionate and vocal defender of police officers, at a time when our job is more difficult and dangerous than ever before,” Mr. Lynch said. “That is exactly what the PBA does for New York City police officers, so it has been encouraging to hear Sheriff Clarke make the same case on a national stage. We should be hearing that type of support from elected leaders in both parties and at all levels of government.”
Addressing riots that broke out in Milwaukee this month after a fatal shooting by police, Sheriff Clarke penned an op-ed for The Hill in which he blamed Democratic leadership and policies for allowing long-term problems to fester and finally erupt.
“The failed progressive urban policy causes anger and resentment in people that simmers below the surface,” he wrote. “The officer-involved 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.”
Sheriff Clarke was first elected in 2002 after spending 24 years with the Milwaukee Police Department.
He said he was humbled and honored to receive the designation.
“I accept this award on behalf of every law enforcement officer who serves and protects their community with integrity, honor, courage and commitment throughout the United States,” Sheriff Clarke said.