Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) is interrupted by Chairman and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) during questioning of Kristen Clarke and Todd Kim. Both of them are nominees to be Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department, at a Senate Judiciary hearing. Sen Tom Cotton was questioning Kristen Clarke on several cases involving police use of force. These cases were Officer Darren Wilson’s Use Of Force On Michael Brown in Ferguson and the case of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI.
Discussion On Officer Darren Wilson’s Use Of Force On Michael Brown in Ferguson
A viral video shows nominee Kristen Clarke being questioned by Sen. Tom Cotton on if Officer Darren Wilson was justified when he shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri in 2014. Kristen Clarke responded that “right now, there is a trial underway, and I like millions of people, am sitting back and watching the trial as it plays out. And I am prepared to accept the verdict of the jury”.
However, in November 2020, that was not exactly what she had said. She had said “On this day, a grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. It is a powerful reminder of why we need to make clear that black lives matter. We must demand that the Department of Justice resume pattern practice investigations and expand prosecutions involving police shootings.”
Officer Darren Wilson Cleared On Any Wrongdoing
Tom Cotton continued- “I would also point out that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice in March 2015 conducted an extensive review of officer Darren Wilson’s conduct and concluded that it not support the filing of criminal charges. They issued an 87-page report that was done under the watch of your fellow nominee Vanita Gupta. In fact, there have been three separate investigations that have cleared officer Wilson of wrongdoing, and just last year in June, you sent a letter to Congress in which you described the Michael Brown case as quote “prosecutorial decisions not to indict police because of impenetrable qualified immunity for police and acquittals based on racism.”
Sen. Cotton continued to question Kristen: “Why do you continue, despite all this evidence to the contrary, from many of your fellow democrats, to refuse to take and answer or take a position on whether officer Darren Wilson was justified or not in the shooting of Michael Brown”?
Kristen Clarke responded “In general, I think that there is a greater need for police accountability – there is a bipartisan agreement on this issue. I know that this body did a lot of work last year-“
Sen Cotton asks again if officer Darren Wilson was justified in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta has said he was justified. There were three different investigations that have said that he was. In fact, the Department of Justice issued an 87-page report on the Michael Brown incident. It concluded that the shooting was justified.
Additionally, Sen Cotton points out that Kristen Clarke did not want to take the position that the shooting was justified. This was despite what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Vanita Gupta have stated. Kristen refused to answer the question and give a simple “yes” or “no” response.
The Case of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI
Sen. Dick Durbin interrupted Sen. Cotton before he could mention the case of Jacob Blake. Sen. Dick Durbin told Cotton to give Kristen the opportunity to respond. Sen. Cotton mentions that he has repeatedly interrupted him constantly the last time there was a hearing.
Sen. Cotton askes Kristen if she thinks that Jacob Blake was armed during an encounter with police. The incident took place in Kenosha Wisconsin last summer. According to reports, Jacob Blake was armed with a knife. However, Kristen Clarke did not give a definite answer on this.
Cotton continued: “It’s one thing to run a left-wing advocacy organization and yet always jump to conclusions about police officers who have to use force to protect themselves or to protect innocent law-abiding Americans. Those are the last people who want to have to use force and certainly force that results in a killing, yet you always jump to those conclusions. It’s one thing to do as a private citizen, as an advocate, but you are going to have the power of the federal government behind you, and based on your pattern of comments, and jumping to conclusions, without evidence, every cop in America should be terrified that the department of justice is going to jump to a conclusion when they have to make a split second decision to defend themselves or defend innocent law-abiding citizens.”.