Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke has quit after a controversial tenure amid allegations that his jailhouse allowed a prisoner to die of neglect.
Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson told NBC affiliate TMJ4 that Clarke’s letter of resignation was received at 3:17 this afternoon.
“There’s no word yet on why the sheriff chose today to tender his resignation or what his next moves may be,” they add.
Seven of Clarke’s jail staff were indicted earlier this year for the death of a man by dehydration after his access to water had been cut off for days. During a six-month span in 2016, three more inmates died, including a newborn baby.
David Clarke has been on Fox News a lot — here are some headlines of the terrible things he has said on the network: pic.twitter.com/30oo1PKHPu
— Media Matters (@mmfa) August 31, 2017
As journalist David Neiwert observes, Clarke’s “views and advocacy go well beyond the mainstream and are, in fact, deeply mired in right-wing extremism.”
Clarke is a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a far-right group which promotes a fringe conspiracy theory nullifying federal power in favor of county sheriffs.
Clarke was the organization’s Sheriff of the Year in 2013, spoke to the militia leaders and anti-government activists at its convention, then defended CSPOA to the press when the story came to light.
Sheriff David Clarke resigns to head Trump’s new Office of Fake Badges and Bling, which will take the place of the US State Department. pic.twitter.com/0XZZ63iKm7
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) August 31, 2017
Claiming that “there is no police brutality in America,” Clarke also denounced Black Lives Matter as a “domestic hate group.”
In May, the Center for Investigative Reporting found that Clarke had apparently violated Milwaukee County rules and guidelines on social media.
He attacked a county official who supported Milwaukee’s designation as an immigration “safe city,” calling the official a liar with “a pathological condition,” dubbed a local pro-immigration group “slimy,” and repeatedly referred to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as the “Urinal Sentinel.”
Briefly considered for a role in the Trump administration, Clarke calls mass incarceration a myth and says the criminal justice system should not focus on rehabilitation. That get-tough approach may be terrible public policy, but it was very exciting to Fox News viewers.
In recent years, Clarke has spent almost as much time appearing with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly or touring the country as he did on his duties. Local reporter Daniel Bice says people have developed the impression that Clarke is “missing in action.”
BREAKING: Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke resigned. He has multiple lawsuits against him, one for an inmate death, and a 31% approval rating. pic.twitter.com/xRRUNYj82v
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 31, 2017
So there are many possible reasons why Sheriff Clarke has finally called it quits, and one of them is that he has finally decided to really cash in on his cowboy hat act at Fox before he gets run out of town on a rail and exposed as an incompetent fraud.
ADDING: two sources with knowledge tell POLITICO that Clarke is failing upwards by getting a new job with the Trump administration. Like the pardon of Joe Arpaio, this is a transparent sop to the Breitbart base to keep them happy after the expulsion of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka from the White House.
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