Court Watch

Clarke Clueless On Department Violations?

In court testimony, Sheriff can’t say how many employees faced criminal charges.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Jan 30th, 2017 10:09 am
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Sheriff David Clarke speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Sheriff David Clarke speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Sheriff David A. Clarke professes to know a lot about race, crime, and politics, but he testified under oath to his total ignorance about how many Sheriff’s Department staff members were referred to the District Attorney’s office for potential criminal charges.

Clarke said he did not know whether 20 or more than 200 Sheriff’s Department employees were referred in a single year.

“I don’t know,” he responded repeatedly when questioned by a lawyer in a deposition.

And having 200 employees referred to the DA would indeed be a problem, the sheriff testified, because “it would  wipe out a good  portion of my  force.”

Clarke was questioned by an attorney for a former County Jail inmate who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Corrections Officer Xavier Thicklen on four occasions in 2013. Thicklen allegedly used his position to create opportunities for the assaults and to ensure the woman’s compliance.

Thicklen eventually was convicted of one count of misconduct in public office, but denied the assaults ever occurred.

The woman’s case against Milwaukee County, Thicklen, Clarke and other jail employees is pending before U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller.

Clarke was deposed by the woman’s lawyer in December 2015.

Q: How many other sheriff’s employees in the year before charges — criminal charges were sent to the District Attorney’s office, how many other sheriff’s employees went through a similar process?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: 20?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: 30?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: 100?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: It could have been 100 other of your employees who had criminal charges sent to the District Attorney’s office during the same year as Thicklen?

Clarke: I don’t know.

“Well, it would  wipe  out a good  portion of my  force.” —Sheriff David Clarke

Q: Okay. Could it have been as many as 200 such employees?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: Okay. But it could have been 200; you don’t know one way or the other?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: You don’t know if it was more than 200 or less than 200?

(One of Clarke’s lawyers objected to the form of the question.)

Q: You don’t know if it was more or less than 200 people?

Clarke: I don’t know.

Q: Would it be fair to say that you would be concerned if 200 of your employees had criminal charges sent to the District Attorney’s office?

(Clarke’s lawyer again objected to the form of the question, but Clarke was allowed to answer.)

Clarke: Well, it would  wipe  out a good portion of my force.

Q: I’m sorry?

Clarke: It would wipe out a good portion of my force; of course it would be problematic.

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Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.”

Categories: Court Watch, Crime

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