Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch needs to mend the “frayed relationship” between police and the Department of Justice created by Eric Holder, says Milwaukee County’s Democratic sheriff, David Clarke.
Clarke, a defender of policing efforts and champion of gun rights in recent years, spoke at Lynch’s confirmation hearing on Thursday to criticize Holder’s tenure as attorney general, especially in the wake of 2014’s events in Ferguson, Mo.
“The incendiary rhetoric used by Eric Holder created the pathway for a false narrative that then became the rallying cry for cop-haters across America,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It sparked unjustified hatred towards America’s law enforcement agencies and its officers.”
Under Holder’s watch, the DOJ showed “almost hostility towards local law enforcement” and “treat[ed] police officers as adversaries instead of allies,” Clarke added.
Clarke, who is black, rejected the notion that police are systematically racist, and called for his critics to provide evidence of their allegations. As she prepares to presumably take the role of the nation’s leading law enforcement office, Lynch needs to show “a renewed commitment to rebuilding trust” with local police rather than “undermining the character and the integrity” of the forces as her precedessor had done, he said.