Fiery Sheriff Clarke Lashes Out at Baltimore Mayor: Curfew Decision Is 'Malfeasance'
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke lashed out (video above) at Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as the chaos unfolded Monday night.
Clarke called out a lack of leadership by Rawlings-Blake, with Sean Hannity wondering why the city seemed to be unprepared for the riots to worsen after protests already took place Saturday night.
Rawlings Blake spoke earlier in the night at a press conference, calling for calm and laying out steps that would be taken by the city. By that time, looting and attacks on police officers had already begun in the late afternoon.
She said a week-long, city-wide curfew would be implemented, starting Tuesday night from 10pm to 5am.
Clarke said it was clear to him that the mayor failed to have an operational plan or anticipate the riots and looting.
"To have called for a curfew tomorrow is malfeasance. To have called for a curfew tomorrow is misconduct in public office. These streets have to be cleared tonight. That should have been job #1. I'm still seeing traffic run through these streets. I'm seeing people lining the streets. The streets have to be cleared in order for order to be restored. These standoffs between lines of police and rioters, that is not good," he said.
Clarke added that the social order in Baltimore "completely collapsed" and police officers were being "led into slaughter" by the city.
"One of the things I hate to see, as this city is being consumed by all this rioting and violence, is the police in retreat. I never want to see the police in retreat in this kind of situation," said Clarke.
In an appearance on "America's Newsroom" Tuesday morning, Clarke said the only way to quell riots like this is with force.
"I'm tired of seeing our nation's finest being put into these situations with no way to be able to defend themselves. You cannot put law enforcement officers into a riot situation and tie one hand behind their back with a main goal of not being able to escalate things. You meet force with force. That's the only thing that these rioters understand. There were 15 casualties on the police side and I haven't heard of one casualty on the side of the rioters," said Clarke.
He added that the situation is not going to improve until the mayor and the police commanders allow officers go in with a reasonable use of force and defeat the "spirit" of the agitators.
Martha MacCallum noted that officers on the ground were citing the mayor's orders when asked by reporters why they were not moving in on the rioters more forcefully.
"I'm looking to win. I'm looking for Baltimore's finest to be able to succeed. The only thing that the mayor should be asking police commanders is: 'are we winning?' And if the answer is not 'yes,' then she needs to get more resources in there," he said, adding that the Baltimore police seem "afraid" to use force.
Martha asked why there is not a "zero-tolerance policy" against looting and against dangerous objects, like bricks, being hurled at police officers.
"Those were pieces of concrete being thrown, which I think in some circumstances, a deadly force response is justifiable. I'm not saying to fully unload. But at the same time, when I see cops getting bricks and pieces of concrete thrown at them and all they can do is ward it off? They're in a losing situation," said Clarke.
Clarke said he does not yet know enough of the facts about the death of Freddie Gray to make a judgment, calling for people to allow the investigation to play out.
He added that thugs and criminals have taken advantage of Gray's death and that the overwhelming majority of Baltimore residents are good, law-abiding people.
"This is sub-human behavior. This is a subculture of the black community in Baltimore and it has to be crushed."
Watch the interview in the clip below.
Meantime, Leland Vittert was reporting all night from the streets of Baltimore amid the chaos, talking to many citizens who lamented what was taking place.
He was positioned near a corner where several stores were being trashed and items were being burned in the street.
At one point, a protester got into a car and drove it right through the flames. A car was then set ablaze near the intersection.
A huge group of riot police were stationed about a block away, but declined to intervene.
A local minister told Vittert on the scene that it was "very sad" to see the violence and looting overtake the city.
He blamed the riots on people who will "always exploit a newsworthy event," such as the death of Freddie Gray.
Watch the report below.