Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who announced he’ll be leaving his position to become an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, is embroiled in a controversy over using his law enforcement officers to harass an airline passenger.
BREAKING: @SheriffClarke announces he will "accept an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security."
— Alan Neuhauser (@alneuhauser) May 17, 2017
Already under fire for allegedly plagiarizing his Masters thesis in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in 2013, it’s now been revealed that he directed deputies to take revenge on a passenger who he felt disrespected him on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Milwaukee.
When Dan Black boarded the flight he spotted Clarke in the first class cabin. He wasn’t sure it was Clarke because the Milwaukee sheriff was sporting Dallas Cowboys attire — not only wasn’t he wearing his signature hat, he wasn’t wearing Green Bay Packers clothing either. So he asked the Sheriff if he was indeed David Clarke.
According to Clarke, the passenger “stared at” him (if you saw a Milwaukee County sheriff wearing Dallas Cowboys clothes, you would stare too) and “shook his head at him for a prolonged period of time.” Then, Clarke’s attorneys say, he asked the passenger if he had a problem but Black didn’t reply.
That’s the Sheriff’s version of events which is used to justify sending the following text:
The sheriff explained in the text what should be done when Riverwest resident Dan Black got off the plane.
“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he become an asshole with your guys,” Clarke wrote Captain Mark Witek. “Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”
“Follow him to baggage and out the door,” Clarke continued. “You can escort me to carousel after I point him out.”
The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has decided not to pursue charges
because “it would be difficult or impossible to prove a violation of the only federal statute available to us …beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The County, though, is trying to investigate the incident but Clarke “has refused to cooperate with the probe, calling it a “fake investigation.'” The County was moving forward with a suit over his blocking the investigation, but that is on hold pending the sheriff’s likely move into the federal government.
Meanwhile Sheriff Clarke was apparently assisted in violating the civil rights of a passenger by the airline (presumably unwittingly),
Airport audio shows that the sheriff or his staff were in contact with American Airlines officials about the incident. At 1:13 p.m. on Jan. 15, an airlines representative called Milwaukee County deputies about Clarke.
“Sheriff Clarke is coming off our 1534 flight,” said the female airlines worker. “They called and said there are three passengers that are not being respectful to him.”
There’s video of passengers, including Clarke, deplaning the aircraft in Milwaukee.
If the sheriff was intimidated or frightened by his exchange with Black on the plane, that didn’t seem apparent from video of him after he exited the plane in Milwaukee.
One video shows five uniformed officers with a police dog — not six as Black had earlier alleged — waiting for Clarke and Black at Gate 54 of Concourse D at the Milwaukee airport.
Clarke has called Black a ‘snowflake’ for objecting to police bullying and says anyone “who harasses him on an airplane might get ‘knocked out’.”