Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s incendiary and offensive rhetoric has landed him in hot water with a Wisconsin legislator who’s now calling for his immediate removal from the sheriff’s office.
State Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) on Tuesday, Jan. 24, penned a letter to Gov. Scott Walker (R) demanding that he boot Clarke from his position at once, WisconsinGazette.com reported. In his letter, Crowley cited the controversial sheriff’s “willful neglect of duties, repeated inappropriate and incendiary comments, his promotions of violence, and use of intimidation against innocent civilians,” as grounds for his swift removal.
Additionally, the chair of the Milwaukee legislative delegation mentioned the multiple inmate deaths that occurred at the Milwaukee County Jail last year. Four people, including an infant, died on Clarke’s watch while they were detained at the facility. The newborn passed after its mother wasn’t given proper medical attention during labor, while a male inmate died of thirst after the water supply to his cell was cut off.
“In November, a court-ordered monitor of the jail reported that the previous three deaths all came from mistakes in medical care and/or poor monitoring of vulnerable inmates,” Crowley wrote. “Yet still, in public, Sheriff Clarke has remained remarkably silent regarding the deaths and staffing concerns.”
The Wisconsin lawmaker went on to highlight a number of inappropriate remarks the sheriff recently made, including an instance earlier this month where Clarke referred to journalist and Morehouse College professor Marc Lamont Hill as a “jigaboo.” Crowley also accused Clarke of using the official website and Facebook page of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office to “personally attack and intimidate” his critics and accusers.
In the past, Clarke has likened the Black Lives Matter movement to “black slime” that needs to be erased from American society, and more recently called the first Women’s March on Washington a “freak show,” ThinkProgress reported.
Just last week, Clarke threatened to “knock out” anyone who stepped to him after detaining a flight passenger who he claimed tried to assault him. The passenger, Dan Black, later filed a complaint against the sheriff for harassment and asserted that he and Clarke only shared a few words, according to Atlanta Black Star.
Crowley said the sheriff then took to Facebook to taunt and intimidate Black, saying, “Cheer up, snowflake. If Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”
“The comments and actions of the Sheriff are completely unacceptable for any public official and constitute a cause for removal from office,” Crowley wrote in his letter. “I call on [Gov. Walker] to remove David Clarke from his position as Milwaukee County Sheriff immediately.”
“The people deserve a Sheriff who is committed to protect and serve, not one committed to threaten and intimidate,” he continued. “The time for action is now.”
ThinkProgress pointed out, however, that the only way the governor can remove a sheriff is if said sheriff commits a felony. But even if Walker had the power to oust Clarke under certain circumstances, the likelihood of him doing so are pretty low, seeing as the two are friends.
Walker responded to Crowley’s letter on Monday, Jan. 23, saying he opposed taking any kind of executive action to remove Clarke from his position as sheriff, even if the law allowed him to do so.
“Oh, I think any position, be it Sheriff or others, where they are elected by the people, they are accountable to the people,” the governor said. “And the only time, historically, a Governor has gotten involved in any of those constitutional offices is if someone’s clearly violated the law, that’s why it’s been rare.”