SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A bill that called for the termination of a UC Davis professor after he said that cops “need to be killed” was blocked by lawmakers.

“They won’t even allow the bill to be heard,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez said. “They won’t even let it be discussed.”

Joshua Clover, an English professor at the California university came under fire in from statements he made between 2014 and 2016, where he called for the murder of police officers.

“I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore”tweeted on Nov. 27, 2014.

“I mean, it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned, no?”tweeted on Dec. 27, 2014.

“People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.”published in an interview on Jan. 31, 2016.

HR-22, a bill published by Assemblyman James Gallagher, clearly outlined that a state-funded university has no business employing someone who would make such inflammatory statements about public servants.

The resolution urged lawmakers to request that Clover be terminated from his role as an educator at the public university.

“These comments are abhorrent and completely unacceptable, and have no place in our campus communities or anywhere else in society,” HR-22 read. “Peace officers put their lives on the line daily for the sake of the public’s safety and liberty, and the murder of peace officers is a crime against all of society.”

Joshua Clover UC Davis

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Gallagher also supplied UC Davis administrators with more than 10,000 petitions from Californians who wanted Clover gone. They say the educator’s statements don’t fall under the First Amendment. 

“Being a law enforcement officer, or hoping to be, is not a protected class.” – UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter

“Incitements to violence are not protected speech under the First Amendment and the First Amendment does not entitle a person to teach impressionable students at a taxpayer-supported university,” HR-22 read. “Parents, students, and taxpayers deserve to know that UC classrooms are not platforms for advocacy of the murder of peace officers.”

Melendez posted a video to Facebook after the bill was effectively killed.

“Joshua Clover has incited violence against law enforcement,” Melendez explained. “This is someone who’s in our state school, paid for with taxpayer dollars, inciting violence against law enforcement, and it’s not appropriate, and it’s not okay.”

Clover’s statements were defended by UC officials.

“If you say something against a protected class, and it would impact the individuals on campus, that opens it up to a different line of consideration,” UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter said. “Being a law enforcement officer, or hoping to be, is not a protected class.”

Joshua Clover UC Davis

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons


Instead of condemning the hateful speech, Hexter referred to the statements as “unpopular and different”.

“The basis for academic freedom is to make sure that the university is a place where unpopular and different views are heard,” he said. “Our practice has not been to discipline people for things that they say outside the university.”

Melendez noted that the bill would never have gotten the support it needed with the current political climate in California. 

“Sadly, the Democratic party that no action needed to be taken, nor did it even need to be discussed,” Melendez concluded in her video. “This is your one-rule party in California at its finest.”

When a journalist began doing an investigation into Clover’s remarks, an email sent to the reporter pretty much sums up the professor’s thought process.

“I think we can all agree that the most effective way to end any violence against officers is the complete and immediate abolition of the police,” the professor reportedly wrote.

When asked for a statement, Clover told a local news outlet that “On the day that police have as much to fear from literature professors as black kids do from police, I will definitely have a statement. Until then I have nothing further to add.”

The university noted that Clover is still in good standing with the school.

Sherry Graham-Potter is the survivor of an officer who was killed in the line of duty. She penned a letter to the UC professor after his remarks exploded on social media.

“I don’t know you, and truthfully, if today you were to draw your last breath, as a Christian woman, I would struggle greatly with my duty to pray for your soul.

There are moments that I cannot conceive of a heart so black and ugly that you would call for a person’s life to be snuffed out, merely because they chose a career path with which you disagree.

You are a gutless coward as far as I am concerned, not worthy of licking clean the boots of my late husband killed while protecting his community, nor my new husband, twenty-six years into his law enforcement career, where he has served with honor, integrity and character. Not one of those attributes will you EVER have the privilege of claiming in your lifetime.”

How many lives have you saved, sir?

How many sobbing, crumbling mothers have you clung to after informing them that their child is no longer of this earth?

How many burning buildings have you run into to save a family pet?

How many lifeless bodies have you breathed into?

How many suicide aftermaths have you witnessed?

How many times have you been spit at?

Confronted with a knife?

Kicked, punched, elbowed, head butted?

How many people have threatened to rape and kill your wife and children after you arrested them?

How many people have shot at you?

How many co-workers have you seen die?

How many doctors have told you that the stress of the job you do will most likely kill you fifteen years sooner than the average civilian?

How many times have the things you’ve witnessed led you to consider putting your own duty weapon in your mouth and pulling the trigger?

How many times have you considered that it’s people like you, and the appalling rhetoric you spew, that drive good men and women to even consider removing themselves from this earth?

I am not naïve, and I recognize and acknowledge there are people on the job that shouldn’t be. That become drunk on power, that fall to temptation, that lose their way.  However, we are all human, we have failings, we are corruptible, we are flawed, selfish and greedy at times. I’m certain you see that in your own line of work. However, I challenge you to find a less corruptible group of individuals than those who walk the Thin Blue Line.

Sir, I want to hate you. I hate what you stand for, I hate that you are in a position to influence young and developing minds. I hate that you have sycophants who eat up your shameful, vile and dangerous rantings.

But I don’t hate you.  No, I pity you.

I pity whatever caused your tainted worldview and your twisted logic. I pray you never have need for law enforcement to intervene on your behalf. 

However, if the day arrives that they must, I am certain of one thing. They will.

Regardless of your disdain for them, they will. Because THAT is who they are.


Sherry Graham-Potter

An open letter to Joshua Clover, Professor of English, UC Davis

Sherry Graham Potter and her children, saying goodbye to their husband and father who was killed in the line of duty.