Dem Lawmaker Whose Child Assaulted Cop Deletes ‘Defund the Police’ Post

Minority Whip Katherine Clark said party should reallocate 'resources' to change policing

Democratic Whip Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) speaks during a news conference on January 5, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
January 24, 2023

Update 1/25 at 10:15 a.m.: Clark's office has restored the post after publication of this article.

Democratic House minority whip Katherine Clark (Mass.)—whose child was arrested for assaulting a police officer last weekend—has deleted a press release from her House webpage that gave glowing coverage to the "defund the police" movement.

On June 14, 2020, Clark wrote on her official website that the country needed to reallocate "resources to move police from being a culture of being warriors to being guardians." The press release linked to a Boston Globe article that favorably featured pro-defund activists and quoted the Massachusetts Democrat on anti-police legislation being pushed in the House. As recently as November, that post was still up, according to an archived version of the webpage.

Authorities on Monday charged Clark’s nonbinary child, Jared "Riley" Dowell, with several crimes including assaulting a police officer last weekend at an anti-cop protest. Dowell was released Monday night after pleading not guilty to all charges and paying a $500 cash bail. A spokeswoman for Clark did not respond to a request for comment on the deleted post.

The Globe pointed out in its article that other Democratic leaders including then-House majority leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) and President Joe Biden did not support defunding police. Others, like former House majority whip Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) and former president Barack Obama, distanced from the movement and disparaged it as a "slogan" following a summer of riots.

In a statement issued amid those riots, Clark called for Democrats to pass their George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, saying "policing laws and practices have traumatized Black communities and shielded law enforcement from accountability."

"We must change the policies at the root of these racial inequities so that every mom and spouse has the same assumption of safety for their family that I have for mine," she told the Boston Herald in June 2020.

The removal of the defund the police post does not appear to be part of a wide-scale deletion. Clark shared the Herald piece on her website on June 8, 2020, a week before posting the since-deleted press release. Unlike the latter post, the Herald article notes that Democrats’ legislation "does not go so far as to ‘defund the police.’" The Herald post is live on Clark’s website as of this writing.

In December 2020, Clark also spurred Democrats to do "everything we can" to pass major policing legislation.

"What we can’t do is get derailed by a disagreement over any particular message," she told the Massachusetts outlet Commonwealth Magazine when asked about opposition to defunding the police. "It is a time in our country’s history where we have to look at racism unblinkingly. We have to do everything we can."

Clark was one of three Democrats—along with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) and caucus chairman Pete Aguilar (D., Calif.)—who ascended to leadership positions in November after their party lost its House majority.