Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Sheriff Clarke’s Meltdown?

He threatens to eliminate a citizen, uses vicious racial slur against another.

By - Jan 20th, 2017 12:31 pm
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.

The many outrageous statements of Sheriff David Clarke have been well-chronicled by the media, but even for Clarke, his latest outbursts are unprecedented.

Yesterday, he used his official Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page to threaten Dan Black, a Riverwest resident. Black had encountered Clarke on an American Airlines flight the two were traveling on from Dallas, and noticed Clarke wearing Dallas Cowboys gear. Black asked Clarke if he was the Sheriff, Clarke said yes, and Black says he shook his head. Black says Clarke then asked if Black “had a problem” and Black again shook his head.

I intentionally did not say anything more to him because I did not want to make a scene or get in trouble as a Milwaukee man did in September when confronting Clarke on an airplane,” Black wrote. “I just moved on and took my seat.”

When the flight was over, Black claims six Milwaukee deputies and two dogs were waiting for him and he was detained and questioned for fifteen minutes before being released.

In response to Black going to the media, Clarke’s office released a statement saying “Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.”

And on the County Sheriff Facebook page, Clarke put up a photo of Black with this warning: “IF SHERIFF CLARKE WERE TO REALLY HARASS YOU, YOU WOULDN’T BE AROUND TO WHINE ABOUT IT.”

You wouldn’t be around? Does this mean Black would be killed? Jailed? Obviously Clarke is leaving it to Black’s imagination, but the clear message is to threaten harm. This is a public safety official who, rather than doing his best to safeguard the citizens of the county he serves, is issuing the kind of threat you might expect from a criminal or a psychopath.

Earlier this week, Clarke put up an ugly tweet, again as Sheriff rather than as a private citizen, calling CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill, who is African American, a “jigaboo.” The term is by now pretty arcane, but was long a contemptuous racial slur used against black people.

Clarke was responding to Hill’s comment that Steve Harvey was a “mediocre Negroe” for supporting and being “manipulated” by Republican President Donald Trump.

In response to Clarke’s jigaboo comment, Hill tweeted that “I’ve never called @SheriffClarke an Uncle Tom, porch monkey, coon, hambone, shine, or handkerchief head. It’s unseemly I tell ya!”

Clarke has refused to respond to press inquiries about his handling of Dan Black. Black has filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office and has said he intends to sue the sheriff.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele blasted Clarke for making a “juvenile” threat against Black. “Most cops, most deputies, most law enforcement officers don’t pull stunts like this,” Abele told Fox6. “I’ve already apologized to Dan Black on behalf of the county.”

Black’s attorney William F. Sulton has released this statement:

“Citizens should be able to complain about public officials without fear of retaliation. Sheriff Clarke’s statements are coldly calculated to intimidate Mr. Black with physical violence for engaging in Constitutionally protected activity. Law enforcement simply do not have license to beat up citizens for whatever perceived slight. Mr. Black will preemptively stop Sheriff Clarke’s attacks with the full force of the legal system. In addition to protecting Mr. Black’s rights, we will work to ensure that Mr. Black is safe from the dangers caused by Sheriff Clarke’s promotion of violence.”

29 thoughts on “Back in the News: Sheriff Clarke’s Meltdown?”

  1. Vincent Hanna says:

    The spats with Abele and others are juvenile and idiotic and his grandstanding is hardly unusual for an elected official. He obviously craves the spotlight and imagines himself a truth-telling provocateur. We have plenty of those. But is there precedent for a law enforcement officer who holds elected office threatening a private citizen in such a public manner, and with their official Facebook account no less? It’s probably happened once or twice before but it certainly feels like we’re entering uncharted waters. Please let him face a legitimate challenger in his next bid for reelection.

  2. “…Clarke put up an ugly tweet, again as Sheriff rather than as a private citizen.”

    In my opinion an elected law enforcement officer is never a private citizen during his term of office.

  3. Sam says:

    I hope we all remember this in 2 years when he’s up for re-election.

  4. Reader says:

    Looks like Mr. Julie Clarke needs his wife to take him to the woodshed ….again and spank some sense into him. Perhaps he’s upset that our pretector has no place for him in his cabinet.

  5. Matt says:


    David Clarke has won 100 elections in a row. He has been a jackass the whole time. And he says jackass things all the time. And then all the little media boys document what a drooling rube he is. And then he wins more elections.

    What David Clarke did was have a man arrested for looking at him funny. Why are you focusing on the stupid stuff he says rather than say,

    1. Talk to the cops who questioned the kid?

    How did they find out Clarke wanted a guy questioned? Are they a special Clarke Squad; are they embarassed; does this happen a lot?

    2. We are obviously getting sued for this, and we are obviously going to lose. How much does this cost? How much has he cost? Does he have a defense?

    3. Why is David Clarke flying first class to a Packers game? Who did he go to the game with? Who pays for that? How much does he travel?

    4. What the hell does a sheriff do anyway?

    If you are asking those questions maybe you won’t sidetracked by intentionally inflammatory statements from Der Sheriff. Seems pretty obvious he’s playing us. Can’t someone just pat him on the head and ask him where he gets all the money when he can’t even land a job with Trump?

  6. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Seriously, how weak-minded do you have be to still buy into Tommy Clarke’s shtick at this point? He’s an incompetent, thin-skinned, whiny fool who is stealing 6 figures from Milwaukee County taxpayers, and I gotta think the vast majority of people see through this worthless bum.

    Clarke wouldn’t know toughness and guts if it bit him in the backside. It takes no toughness to stand up from a position of power and protection to talk down to others, and to abuse your power when someone calls you out.

  7. Tom says:

    The ONLY person who can stop this extreme abuse of power is Governor Scott Walker.

    Governor Walker needs to remove David Clarke as Sheriff of Milwaukee County.

    Every day that Sheriff Clarke remains in power, making threats to kill private citizens, and inciting his many looney followers to commit violence against private citizens confirms the reality that Sheriff Clarke’s actions are fully supported by Governor Walker & the entire Wisconsin Republican Party, including State Attorney General Brad Schimel.

    Any private citizen, especially a DEMOCRATIC elected official had made the violent threats that Sheriff David Clarke has made in the past 72 hours, would already be arrested and being held in JAIL.

    The fact that Sheriff David Clarke is free to threaten to KILL private citizens who dare look at him sideways, and incite his followers to harm or KILL for him, is 100% proof that Governor Walker condones and approves of this extreme escalation of the Divide & Conquer governing that is Walker’s Wisconsin.

    Proof that there are 2 systems of justice in Walker’s Wisconsin; one for Democrats and one for Republicans. If you are a Republican in Walker’s Wisconsin, you can literally get away with encouraging violence and murder. Sad…..

  8. Casey says:

    “the only reaching across the isle I’ll do is to grab them by the throat”
    David Clarke 1/20/17

  9. Milwaukee Native says:

    Clarke was flying back BEFORE the game started in Dallas.

    No one mentioned why he was traveling–or doing so first class. But he could have been on one of his speaking or consulting junkets. Despite how much he’s getting paid by us taxpayers, he made even more on his last tax filing from his other job branding himself as “America’s Sheriff.”

  10. Bill Kurtz says:

    I’ve long called Cluck the black Harold Breier, but antics like this convinced me I was being unfair to Breier, who was never hotheaded or dumb enough to make threats like this.

  11. david jaskowak says:

    Theres consequences to being a spoiled little sissy
    act stupid, the sheriff should be able to inflict any punishment he wants on the clown.
    id knock his crybaby ass out too.
    No what, I said it!

  12. Liloldlady says:

    Wearing the opposing team’s logo seems like the cause of the head shaking. Why play the race card?

  13. Barbara says:

    Why, again, do we even have a Milwaukee County sheriff? Couldn’t other agencies do what he does and do it better? The office needs to be abolished.

  14. RAFE says:

    Knowing the history of the antics of unhinged lefties, Inauguration day comes to mind, the sheriff was just being cautious.
    This really isn’t that hard to see. But, once again you guys have such a vengeance against him regardless of what he does it’s somehow abusing his power.

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    You don’t think the sheriff publicly threatening the life of someone is going a little too far? Does he actually have to kill someone before people like you will acknowledge that he crossed the line?

  16. Thomas says:

    A local rep requested the WI Governor to take action to remove the sheriff. The Governor reverted to weasel-speak on this matter. It will take a recall to depose this sheriff. He may have less than half an idea in his head, but our sheriff can game our political system to his advantage. He could possibly win another election running as a democrat, a republican or as an independent. He must be recalled if we want a better sheriff.

  17. I don’t get the tenor of comments or the statement quoted in the article by attorney Will Sutton.

    “Law enforcement simply do not have license to beat up citizens for whatever perceived slight.”

    Did Clarke “beat up” anyone? Doesn’t the First Amendment protect even this kind of speech?

  18. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    I do not believe that nay of you now what was actually said. Have you asked David?
    This other guy has been calling Clarke lots of names, and it got back to him. Dreyfus: “Kick me I kick back”. Harder!! he was like the nut that they pulled off the plane.

  19. Vincent Hanna says:

    The guy on the plane didn’t touch Clarke. So someone calls Clarke names and that means it’s OK for the sheriff to threaten their life.

  20. Jerry says:

    Hopefully the negative press and attacks from Democrats doesn’t help galvanize support among the right-wing base. I believe that Sheriff Clarke is mounting a 2018 Senate campaign and is using the free press that he is getting from these comments to shore up support for the GOP primary. Similar strategy to what worked for President Trump.

    We need to address clearly unhinged Sheriff but do not need to attack voters for past support of his campaigns. We do not need to force his supporters to dig in their heels and back him for a higher office.

    This is a reliably red state, and the winner of the GOP primary has a legitimate shot at taking the Senate seat from Sen. Baldwin.

  21. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    He should sue, then we will find out what happened. incidentally for all of you that think that Illinois and Calfironia are so great, they re deep in deficit while Wisconsin is 736 million ahead.
    The Lefties her egot us in mess under Doyle and they continue to destroy Milwaukee , when will people learn.

  22. Benny Nota says:

    Tom Bamberger: You’re suggesting the First Amendment covers the “right” of a law-enforcement official to threaten extra-legal violence against a private citizen for looking at him sideways?

    Sure, it may do that.

    But in a decent political system, such blatant disrespect for the citizens at whose will he serves would result in loss of his job.

    An elected official threatening a citizen for exercising HIS First Amendment rights violates that citizen’s rights, and that elected official’s duty to UPHOLD the Constitution – not trash it.

  23. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    None of you have any knowledge of what happened cause the press did bad job of reporting.
    Since Clarke flies all the time, the last 20 years, and this is the first time something like this happens, we can safely assume that there was some threatening effort.
    That is a felony in this state.
    It will come out int he lawsuit/complaint. At repent some rally nutty peoel like the lade that had to be taken off the plane, are happening.
    If you are in a situation where you might threaten a cop/sheriff, he/she is well with in their rights to use their nightsticks, to stop any presumed assaults. That should have been done with some of the shootings around here instead of shooting. You cannot threaten a public official at any time, it is a felony.
    With BLM and the nutty protestors, that 276 got arrested, will be charged with felonies That guy could have had that happen..

  24. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    You do not have to touch a public official to threaten them. A phone call, email, letter that threatens anyone from th President on down, can get you in jail. Check the law.
    i know people that ended up in jail, for threatening local officials. Lots of them get visited by the police, Secret Service. We do not tolerate that. Can you believe what the Perp says?
    Let face it, the dopey lefties : white, male, libera,l racists that run Milwaukee, hate Clarke cause he is exposing their complete corruption and incompetence.
    They have gotten us to the point where we are in the top ten, 6th , to be exact in the country for violence, worse per capita then Chicago. Way above New York,. We have a heroin epidemic, human trafficking, random shootings of kids on porches, front yards, front windows by gun wielding thugs. This is not a joke.
    The people on this site are apologists for this crap, no solutions from any of them.
    Frankovis/Clarke have the solution, but they are not liked by the Left so, the slaughter goes on, apologized for by the Left on this site and Bruce Murphy as the Editor.

  25. Vincent Hanna says:

    In the first sentence you claim that no one knows what actually happened, and then you follow that by saying “we can safely assume.” So you also have no idea what actually happened right?

  26. Vincent Hanna says:

    If I see Clarke and say “Sheriff you’re an idiot” and walk away, is that a crime?

  27. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    A person that insulted a woman, in line, in a grocery store 12 package line called the woman fat and ugly and he was arrested.
    there is a place for these things and just like the idiot woman yesterday, in the plane, attacking the guy going to the Inauguration, was removed from he plane and arrested.
    There are limits to what you should do in that area.
    You can get arrested for disorderly, starting a disturbance on a plane, so the answer is yes, that is wrong, stupid, and can get you arrested.

  28. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Clarke cited today for running a Great Jail by the state.
    In Jails with the people that are in them things happen.
    Ever read what happens in prisons?
    When you have the trash of the state/county, in one place you are not running the PTA.

    Good Job David Clarke on running a great Jail.

  29. Vincent Hanna says:

    You didn’t really answer the actual question I asked. So I will. It is not a crime for me to call a public official an idiot and walk away. And you admit that you have no idea what actually happened on the plane right? You were not there and Clarke hasn’t said what happened. As of this moment we only have one side of the story, and according to that version all the guy did was ask a question and walk away. If that is true, that is not a crime and Clarke had no legitimate reason to fear for his safety.

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