Hours after the devastating police shooting that claimed the lives of three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sunday, CNN's Don Lemon invited Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke on air to speak about the recent surge in anti-police violence nationwide.
Lemon began the interview by asking Clarke what his message was to American citizens in the wake of another attack on police just about a week after the shootings in Dallas. The CNN anchor said that he spoke to the Baton Rouge sheriff's department and police department.
"Their message is peace and coming together in the country. What's your message?" he asked.
"You don't believe that for one minute, do you?" Clarke scoffed.
Clearly surprised by the sheriff's response, Lemon said, "Uh, that's what they said to me ... Yeah, I believe them."
"Any protests over the deaths of these cops today in Baton Rouge?" Clarke asked.
"I don't know," Lemon said.
"Any riots or protests over the officers in Dallas, Texas?" the sheriff pressed.
"What are you asking?" Lemon asked.
"It's a pretty simple question," Clarke said. The CNN contributor, who will be speaking Monday evening at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, went on to voice his frustration with the way the country has responded to these recent acts of violence.
"My message," he continued, "has been clear from day one, two years ago. This anti-cop sentiment from this hateful ideology called Black Lives Matter has fueled this rage against the American police officer. I predicted this two years ago."
"OK, Sheriff," Lemon said. "With all due respect, do you know that this was because of that? As a law enforcement officer?"
"Yes, I do," Clarke asserted. "I've been watching this for two years. I predicted this. This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that our now playing themselves out on the American police officer. I wanna know, with all of the black-on-black violence in the United States of America — By the way, when the tragedies happened in Louisiana and Minnesota, do you know that 21 black people were murdered across the United States? Was there any reporting on that?"
Lemon then attempted to diffuse the sheriff's outrage, asking him to "keep the volume down," to no avail. When the CNN host asserted that black-on-black violence is a "separate topic" that isn't necessarily related to the violence against police in America, Clarke had had enough.
The sheriff refused to give up his argument that Black Lives Matter is not about racial equality, but is rather an anti-police hate group.
Seeing that Clarke wasn't backing down, Lemon cut the contributor off and ended the interview.
Watch the heated exchange: