Just when you thought president-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks couldn’t get any more frightening, he names Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as potential head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Clarke is no stranger to “no-nonsense” policing and is now looking to enact a major overhaul of the country’s homeland security program if he gets the top spot on Trump’s administration.
So what makes the possibility of a tough-on-crime official like Clarke being named to such a powerful governmental position so terrifying? In his upcoming memoir, “Cop Under Fire,” Clarke called for American citizens suspected of being terrorists or terrorist sympathizers to be arrested, interrogated by authorities without an attorney present and detained indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay-like prisons.
And his radical ideas didn’t stop there. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Clarke also proposed that cases against the accused be handled by military tribunals, not the traditional U.S. court system.
“We are at war,” Clarke wrote. “Homegrown radicalization has the enemy inside our borders. Islamist-radicalized Americans are not criminals; they are enemy combatants.”
“A new entity focused on protection, not prosecution, is the only way to protect Americans,” he added.
Critics have called the plans laid out in Clarke’s book “troubling,” as they go against the laws of due process, the right to a fair/speedy trial and other protections laid out in the U.S. Constitution. Edward Fallone, a constitutional law expert and associate professor at Marquette University Law School, said the sheriff’s ideas were “extreme” and fell “well outside of Supreme Court precedent and mainstream academic thought.”
In the past, Clarke, who is an outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, has made some inflammatory comments about the social justice group, falsely accusing it of having ties to Islamic terror group ISIS. He even labeled the movement as one of the nation’s “age-old enemies who have always fought the ideals of our Constitution and our nation.”
“That they have now taken on as their costume a false concern for Black America only adds to their depravity,” Clarke wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill.
Before long, Black Lies Matter will join forces with ISIS to being down our legal constituted republic. You heard it first here.
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) October 28, 2015
However, if the Milwaukee sheriff gets his way, and is named head of the Dept. of Homeland Security, a multitude of innocent Americans exercising their Constitutional right to protest could be labeled as terrorists. Even worse, under Clarke’s plans, they could be stripped of their constitutional rights and imprisoned overseas.
The sheriff detailed his plans during an interview with right-wing radio station TheBlaze last year when he suggested that the number of people accused of being terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and stand to have their rights taken away could very well exceed 1 million, according to Mother Jones. For fear that jailing accused ISIS sympathizers in U.S. prisons could potentially turn jails into terrorist recruitment hubs, the sheriff also suggested that the accused be detained at Guantanamo Bay.
“We have no idea how many people out there have pledged allegiance or are supporting ISIS, giving aid and comfort, but I would suggest hundreds of thousands, I would suggest maybe a million,” Clarke said. “It’s just a guess.”
“You take the known terrorists that are here, and you think we’re going to arrest all these people and put them in jails and then sentence them to prison? It’s idiotic,” he continued. “[Take them to] Gitmo and hold them indefinitely under a suspension of habeas corpus.”
Clarke met with president-elect Trump on Monday, but there’s still mystery around whether the rogue sheriff is being touted as a top pick for the Dept. of Homeland Security. For most people, the possibility of him heading such a position is worrisome enough.
In the meantime, Clarke is battling and a federal investigation after four people, including a newborn baby, died at the Milwaukee County Jail in a span of just seven months. He has yet to comment on the matter.