Black and Blue: Mount Vernon detective navigates 2 worlds after Floyd’s death

As the fallout from George Floyd’s death continues to spark protests across the nation, African American police officers find themselves navigating two worlds: Black and blue.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2020, 9:41 PM

Updated 1,434 days ago

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As the fallout from George Floyd’s death continues to spark protests across the nation, African American police officers find themselves navigating two worlds: Black and blue.
News 12’s Michelle Brown went for a ride-along with Detective Dave Clarke, of the Mount Vernon Police Department.
Clarke was born and raised in Mount Vernon. When his younger brother, Devon, was killed in the city 20 years ago, the experience pushed him and his sister toward law enforcement.
He now heads up the force’s training unit.
Brown asked him how he navigates being a Black man and a police officer.
“People don’t want to touch the elephant in the room, which is racism. Systemic racism in one of the biggest things that is in policing,” he said.
He says a day after the video of George Floyd’s arrest came out, there was a racial divide in the department that became more apparent.
“No one wanted to talk about the George Floyd incident, and no one was enraged except for…the Black officers. When things happen like that and you come to work, it’s not like you’re saying that they don’t care, but if feels like they don’t care,” he told News 12.
He says some white officers did reach out to him a couple days later. According to Clarke, part of the systematic change that must happen as a fallout from the death of Floyd is more Blacks getting into law enforcement.
“We can’t fix this system unless we become a part of the system,” he said.
He says he is proud to be a homegrown officer from Mount Vernon and found his calling in law enforcement.
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