David Clarke, outspoken Trump supporter, resigns as Milwaukee County sheriff â" without explanation
September 1 at 6:56 AM Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke offered his support for police officers around the country during a speech on the opening day of the Republican National Convention on July 18. (The Washington Post)
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., a vocal supporter of President Trumpâs law-and-order platform who faced repeated allegations that inmates were mistreated in his jails, abruptly resigned Thursday, issuing a terse, one-sentence letter and offering no explanation for his decision.
Clarkeâs resignation, which comes more than a year before his fourth term as sheriff is scheduled to expire, took effect at midnight, Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson told The Washington Post.
It remains unclear why the sheriff, 61, left his job, a move heâs characterized as his retirement. Clarke had ser ved as sheriff since 2002.
A longtime adviser, Craig Peterson, said Clarke is unlikely to make any public comments until next week, though the former sheriff took to social media on Friday morning to change his Twitter bio â" âSheriff (ret).,â it now begins â" and to acknowledge his decision.
Clarke â" described by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a âcontroversial, Stetson-wearing official who rose to national prominence with his no-holds-barred conservative rhetoricâ â" quickly followed his retirement tweet with two others that touched on one of his favorite topics: the mediaâs treatment of President Trump.
âAs Hurricane Irma approaches the Caribbean, lib media no doubt scheming on how they can weaponize this storm to use against @realDonaldTrump,â he wrote in one.
âWith the fake news mediaâs derangement over every single move made by @realDonaldTrump,â Clarke wrote in another, âhe is living rent free in their empty hea ds. #MAGA.â
Asked if the lifelong Milwaukee resident is considering a potential geographic relocation, Peterson, the adviser, would say only: âAnythingâs a potential.â
Politico reported Thursday that Clarke is expected to take a job with the Trump administration. But according to a person close to Clarke, he is likely to join an outside group that supports the presidentâs agenda. A second person familiar with the matter said that Clarke was not expected to join the Trump administration. Both individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
In June, Clarke withdrew his name from consideration for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security.
At the time, Peterson said, âSheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the presidentâs agenda in a more aggressive role.â
[Who is David Clarke Jr.? And why are so many Republicans excited about this Democrat?]
Christenson, the county clerk, declined to comment on the contents of Clarkâs resignation letter or any rationale the sheriff provided for his decision to leave the post. The resignation came with no advance notice, Christenson said, adding he will next alert Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who will decide on the appointment of a replacement.
The Journal Sentinel published a copy of the letter, which read:
Dear Mr. Christenson:
Pursuant to Wis. Stat Â§ 17.01, this communication is submitted as the notice of my resignation as Sheriff of Milwaukee County commencing August 31, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.
David A. Clarke Jr., Sheriff
A Democrat whose rhetoric and conservative political base more closely align with the Republican Party, Clarke has in recent years become a regular commentator on Fox News and used the platform to criticize President Barack Obama and assail many of his policies.
Clarke has compared the Black Lives Matter protest movement, which aims to counter anti-black racism, to the Ku Klux Klan, suggesting it would team with the Islamic State to overthrow the federal government. He labeled anti-Trump demonstrators as âanarchists,â and said African Americans sell drugs âbecause theyâre uneducated, theyâre lazy, and theyâre morally bankrupt.â
[Sheriff blames deaths of Mississippi officers on Obamaâs âwar on policeâ]
His 15-year tenure as sheriff has also been a source of controversy.
At least four people died in the Milwaukee County Jail between April 2015 and November 2016, including a newborn baby whose birth occurred unbeknown to Clarkeâs staff. In another case, his staff was accused of withholding water from an inmate, who eventually died, for one week. In January, a jury awarded $6.7 million to a w oman who said she was repeatedly raped by guards at the Milwaukee County Jail.
He and his staff are the subject of numerous other lawsuits alleging abuse and mistreatment.
While Clarke was under consideration for the Homeland Security job, reports surfaced that he had plagiarized large portions of his masterâs thesis. He disputed those claims and called the CNN reporter who broke the story âa sleaze bag.â
The sheriff emerged as one of Trumpâs most visible and enthusiastic supporters during last yearâs campaign, delivering a much-discussed address at the Republican National Convention.
Addressing the Republican crowd in Cleveland he declared, âBlue lives matter in America,âa pointed response to growing criticism, throughout the nation, about law enforcementâs use of deadly force, and Clarke made clear his feeling that the threats facing his officers and others have become only more extreme. In the convention speech, he praised a Baltimore c ourtâs decision to acquit one officer implicated in the death of a man, Freddie Gray, who suffered severe spinal injuries while in police custody.
Clarke was discussed as a potential Homeland Security secretary early in the Trump administrationâs transition, but those close to the president-elect worried that various scandals and a host of controversial statements would impede the sheriffâs ability to win Senate confirmation.
On Thursday, Clarke attended the Fraternal Order of Police national convention in Nashville, posing for photos alongside admirers and reminding his 768,000 Twitter followers that the organization backed Trump during last yearâs election.
The sheriffâs Twitter feed has remained quiet since news of his resignation broke, however. His last tweet, published about an hour before the county clerkâs office received Clarkeâs letter, was a promotion for his book, âCop Under Fire.â Trump hailed the book and its author in a tweet Sunday.
Peterson said Clarke wished to let the Milwaukee community know he appreciates the support its shown for him over the past 15 years. However, it was apparent for many months that the sheriff intended to move on, and already a list of possible successors has emerged.
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A police officer told a woman âwe only kill black peopleâ â" on camera. Now heâll lose his job.Source: Google News